Finding a Song During Lockdown

musical scoreDuring this lockdown, I have surprised myself by singing and humming more often.

Perhaps a gift from the Divine Three. Maybe just a self-affirmation for something positive.

The health benefits of singing are well documented:

  • It releases feel-good endorphins
  • It improves brain function – a plus for those of us with Alzheimer’s in the family line
  • It is good exercise when done right – use your diaphragm, darlin’
  • It lowers blood pressure
  • It tones facial muscles – a positive since Botox injections are not essential surgeries
  • It boosts immunity – definitely a given to help us avoid the Coronavirus

Songs seem to erupt from my vocal cords at the oddest times. One morning, I was fixing my hair and suddenly the Beatles “Let It Be” burst forth.

Another day, it was a little ditty my dad composed and taught me, “I fell in love with Jesus.”

“You are my sunshine” is another favorite, sung to no one in particular. Sometimes the cat. She is not impressed.

I have made a commitment to sit down at the piano more often and bang through a Beethoven sonata or play through a version of “Silent Night” my piano teacher once assigned me.

Traveling up and down the keyboard loosens muscles tight from the constriction of lockdown and forces my brain to focus on several tasks at a time.

One of the old hymns that currently cheers me is in the public domain. Sung by the Antrim Mennonite Choir, this version of “God Will Take Care of You” brings instant encouragement. Although written and sung in old English, the harmonies are so beautiful — I play it often.

Hurray for YouTube during this lockdown.

For those with little ones at home, singing together can be a fun family activity. In fact, many of us grew up with family singalongs — either in the car during travels or around the old upright in the living room.

Every year at Christmas, we had to perform before presents were offered. Sometimes it was an instrument we were learning to play. Often, it was singing something for the extended family.

And sometimes we were blessed to hear “Gott ist die liebe” sung by aunts and uncles.

Music is all around us: the trill as cardinals call their mates, a wind chime responding to the Kansas breeze, the cooing of a baby, background notes on a TV commercial, the hum of the refrigerator.

When we truly listen, we can hear different notes and volumes all around us.

But when the silence of lockdown stifles our hope, we can open our own vocal cords and find the song in our souls.

Keep singing, folks. Fight the virus with your songs.

©2020 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Faith is built on a foundation of hope. Check out Uploading Faith for topics that encourage and build the attributes of hope.

 

 

Hope for the New Year

A brand new calendar forces reflection on the passing of time yet also moves us toward new opportunities.

During my “senior” season, I am finished setting resolutions. No more of the usual “less sugar, lose some weight and save more money” focus.

This year, I want to dig deeper. Maybe it is the aging factor that forces me beyond the mere physical and into the extraordinary. Or maybe I have learned how empty some resolutions feel.

I seek something with more impact. So I have decided to focus in two directions:

To Look for the Presence of God Each Day.

I know the Divine Three live inside me, but I also believe God moves mysteriously around me.

During this new year, I want to be more aware of that Divine presence:

  • In the energy of a crackling fire
  • In the dancing eyes of children
  • In the musical tones of nature’s breezes
  • In the faces of strangers at coffee shops, the mall and the lines at Wal-Mart
  • In the perseverance of the disabled who refuse to be victims
  • In the hugs of my son
  • In the colors and textures of my world

When I intentionally seek the presence of God, I hope to discover spiritual truths in new ways. Being more aware of God’s personal steps in my world reminds me he is my constant companion.

To Listen for the Divine Whisper Each Day.

God wants to communicate with us. He is the Word, and he is consistent in his desire for relationship.

But our world is so noisy, we often cannot hear what he longs to share with us.

I am fortunate to work in a job that involves silence. I write with no background music or white noise. Yet I can still miss the soft baritone of my Savior.

This year I want to be more aware of his voice, to hear with an extraordinary sonic volume:

  • When God gives direction or guidance
  • When he reminds me to backtrack or fix something wronged
  • When his creative whisper births an idea for a new book
  • When he asks me to be still and know
  • When he just wants to say, “I love you.”

My goal for this year is to spend time each evening with a few moments of evaluation: How was the presence of God real that day? How did I hear God speak that day?

Maybe by next December, I will have developed a keener sense of the Trinity in every day life.

That goal gives me hope.

©2020 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

With a new year comes the opportunity to revise our goals. Check out Setting and Reaching Your Writing Goals.