Songs For Perplexing Times
A heaviness weighs on me as I watch the constant changes of COVID-19. The beginning months of 2021 beg to shake away any effects from the lockdowns. But the residue of constant reminders from the news, social media, and venturing outdoors with masks sticks with me.
My heart breaks for those who’ve lost loved ones. I grow intolerant to the micro-aggressive comments spouted on social media. I observe those in government dialoguing to manage the affairs of the country. Yet, the media informs us about the promise of a virus turnaround through a vaccine.
Much of our stress and loss shouts out despairing tones of anguish echoing through the long days.
In spite of the despairing tones, God turns resonating noises into glorious melodies desiring to fill His steadfast love into our souls.
“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress” (Psalm 59:16 ESV).
The Psalmist reminds us to sing of God’s strength while in the center of troubling times. Singing songs seem out of place when we are enmeshed in daily struggles. Our serenades lament for something better.
Maybe we long to be rid of COVID. Maybe we desire acceptance into a system that defines groups of people as second-class citizens. Perhaps students long to return to the physical school building. Whatever the desire, we can choose to sing through it all.
“How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land” (Psalm 137:4 ESV)?
Opera, for many, presents a different form of music (contrary to popular music). I don’t know many people who listen to this genre of music. I only know my mother and her friends love opera.
When growing up, I’d listened to my mother sing in her soprano voice. She enjoyed Jessye Norman and Leontyne Price, African American Sopranos. At times, we completed our chores to opera music. When my children were babies, she would rock them to sleep while singing. The melody of her voice, somehow, quieted their little souls and they fell asleep. This foreign way of singing has a way to calm even the restless child.
How much more does singing in these unprecedented times calm your distress?
Music Silences Irregular Rhythms of Life
Opera displays a theatrical work consisting of a dramatic text, that has been set to music.
Songs in life mirror opera music and bring out a range of emotional responses to the circumstances we face.
I listen to symphony music and appreciate the orchestra’s harmonies from each section. Woodwinds resonating like high-pitched pipes; violins lifting melodious heart-strings; brass sounding out vibrations supporting strong undertones, and drumsticks tapping the rims as the percussion section provides a solid foundation for musicians.
Because my mother gifted each of her children with playing an instrument (I played the flute), these sounds have become familiar to me.
The rhythm of musical scales parallels the interruptions I experience in life. This syncopation in music—the placement of notes stressed where they would not normally occur—intimates a healing source for me.
This irregularity confirms God’s steadfast love during a shifting season where His songs become mine.
I am encouraged to lift my voice and sing melodies for His steadfast love, so the world’s ills and its applause take a back-stage bow.
Clamoring noises fade.
The curtain closes to chaotic tones bringing semblance to the seasons and stages of life.
Singing God’s songs give me rest from my days of distress.