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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Are Children Afraid of Lullabies?

https://www.pinterest.com/cheztemp/colleen-moores-fairy-castle/

Rock-a-by-baby’s cradle from Collene Moore’s Dollhouse https://www.pinterest.com/cheztemp/colleen-moores-fairy-castle/

Rock-a-by-baby,
On the tree top,
When the wind blows,
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
Cradle and all.

I met a woman last week who told me she would not sing, “Rock-a-by-baby” to her children lest it give them nightmares about the cradle falling. She also said that she censored fairy-tales and Bible stories that might be too frightening for children. They only heard them when they were older.
I didn’t really know what to say. My Mother loved me more than life and I was never afraid in her presence. She sang me, “Rock-a-by-baby” every night and I never once was afraid of the cradle falling.
It did cause me to wonder. How do we feel about lullabies as adults? Were you ever worried about the cradle falling? Did Little Red Ridding Hood scare you? As I look back, I was so secure in my parent’s love that I feared nothing when I was with them. If they sang the song or read the story I assumed it would all work out alright. I came to expect happy endings.
Naturally it came as a shock when I was big enough to realize that my parents couldn’t do everything. I was sad that they couldn’t make the world right and fair, but I was also grateful that they did their best.
Perhaps I was eased into the idea that my parents weren’t able to slay every foe because I knew that they relied upon God for the things that were overwhelming to them. I knew that everything did not work out. I knew that I had an older sister who only lived three days. I remember a neighbor telling my Mother that she was shocked that I had been told about that. Her reaction to my knowledge made an enough of an impression on me that I remember asking my Mother about it later.

My Mother told me that some people didn’t think children should know about tragedy. My Mother reminded me that God was the one who was ultimately in control and He was looking after my sister that I never met. We would all be together one day and then for all eternity. I was not afraid. God was loving. He was our Father.
When I was in elementary school and I came across injustices that my Daddy couldn’t fix, I comforted myself with the remembrance that God was our ultimate Father and someday everything would be made right.
I suppose, upon reflection, that all of this is the reason I still believe that the future is bright. I am all too well aware that this world contains much tragedy and inequity. My Daddy now leans on me when we go places together. My Mother is with my sister waiting for the rest of us in heaven. But my Father in Heaven is the one who is ultimately in charge. He is all good and all loving. Jesus will come back again one day. There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. The lion will lie down with the lamb. All will be right.

I am confident that life has a happy ending. I face each new day with optimism. I don’t believe in fairy-tales. I believe in Jesus.

  • What do you think? Are lullabies like “Rock-a-by-baby” too scary for little children?
  • What is you opinion about fairy-tales? Some have very violent content.
  • How do video games fit into this discussion? Should they be part of this discussion?
  • What do you think of teaching stories like Noah and the Ark, or Daniel in the Lion’s Den?
  • From where do you think children derive their sense of security?

I am not asserting that I have all the answers, dear readers. I am interested in the ideas of other about these questions. I had not really pondered them before and I think they are compelling questions. I look forward to your replies.