Black Holes of Music

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This evening I have a yellowed sheet of notebook paper in my hand. I was wondering what my reflections were on music in my college days. Despite hesitation and much gained maturity I will let my old self speak to you this evening about my love of music.

I never really had the time to pursue my music. Often, I really didn’t have the time, but sometimes it was also because I was afraid that I couldn’t bear to keep music for a hobby. Hobbies are something you do in your spare time. Music has always been a little dangerous for me. I love it so much that whenever I get involved in it I begin to pull back with fear.

That fear comes from the fact that it has resembled a black hole to me-one that I want to fall into. Music pulls at me with a force stronger than gravity when I get close to it. As long as I can remember I have wanted to throw myself in with reckless abandon. In my dreams I can let it swallow me up and I’ll never have time for ordinary life again.

I first learned piano beginning at age 10. Then I started rearranging my lesson songs, and won a talent contest with the updated version. At 12 I wrote my own songs. Then I wanted a better piano teacher, but couldn’t afford it. At 14 I discovered chamber music and the violin. For me the piano spoke to my heart and the violin echoed my soul. I couldn’t really find much in the way of a violin teacher. The dream faded. I wanted so badly to make time to learn enough theory to compose, but other priorities always drowned out the song.

In college I’d tuck a music course elective in here and there, but was becoming clear to me that it would never be. Ultimately, I decided that the brass ring had slipped through my hand. The dream never died.

I did make room for a hobby as a young adult. I did study theory and wrote more music. I used to lie awake at night listening to the strains of music in my head. The next day I would try to write them down. It wasn’t practical, but it was something that helped me through the hardest time of my life.

My beloved Mother developed cancer and died all too soon. When I remember that dreadful year of her chemo and radiation that ended at the cemetery all through it, I remember the music I was writing. I was singing to her the pinnacle of my compositions during her last day in the hospital. I think that God put the music in me for just that time.

The music faded away as I fell into my grief. Music never took me to a state of pure bliss. It did bear me through the dark hole of loss. It was the only earthly thing strong enough to distract me though that pivotal chapter of life, and death.

Beauty has the power to help us to process the unimaginable. We can walk down roads of song that we could never walk down in silence.Deep space seems to have a symphonic sound. The Holy Spirit, we are told in scripture, will make intercession for us with groans that are too deep for words. In the places that we cannot even find words, there may be music.

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