Soothing the Savage “Beast”

“Music has charms to soothe the savage breast

To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”

~William Congreve

I love good music.  I love music that uplifts my spirit and gives me a bigger idea of who God is.  I love music that fleshes out the definition of beauty.  Some classical music has brought me to tears.  Some sacred music has brought me to my knees.

So why is there not more music in my house?  Oh, there is plenty available…but why is it not heard more?  Because I have made a mistake.

You see, I am one of those unfortunate beings who is easily distracted.  I very often sit up front in church, not because of my piety but because of my penury.  The more rows back I am, the more fidgeting children I see, the more fumbling in purses I observe, the more disheveled hymn books and papers I notice.

In college, I used to marvel at room mates who could accomplish something academic while music was playing and the general commotion of dormitory life was going on.  Not me.  I had to squirrel my brain cells away inside a library cubicle in order to attain some semblance of education.

So, this has translated itself to the here and now.  I simply would not play music because I could not give myself to it.  There would be talking, skipping, clatter, laughing, and other normal household noises going on…and my enjoyment was taken down a notch with each interruption.  I missed something, though.  I missed the fact that perhaps I had the entire equation backwards.

Very often when I am driving the car with kids in tow, we will listen to Bible stories en route.  We had done so this past week, while driving the 30 some-odd minutes to WalMart.  On the way home, I found we did not have any other tapes in the car that had not been listened to recently, so instead I popped in a music tape we had had for years.  It predated our wedding (that’s nearly 19 years), and was a little warped and the worse for wear, but a peculiar thing happened when it began to play.  The car became quiet.  Minutes before, there had been squabbling and plenty of “outdoor” voices.  I began to sing along with the “quiet time” songs.  Then I noticed that several more little voices were joining mine.  It was a light bulb moment (you know, like in the cartoons).

Perhaps I had undervalued the calming effect of music.  The focus it can give.  The ministry it can have.  This is not just about me and my aesthetic preferences.  It is about how I can further enhance the atmosphere of our home.

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.


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