I love the way music and song make me feel. Music can meet us where we are mentally at any given moment – calming, comforting, inspiring us. Music reaches the soul, encourages us, blesses us, and heals us.
“Music has the power to wash away the dust of everyday life, and medical experts believe it may also imbue physical and social benefits.”
Researchers are beginning to focus on the importance of the arts, especially music, in bringing about healing of heart problems, depression, and other various mental disorders. The Los Angeles Times reported in an article titled, “The hope of music’s healing powers”, “researchers are finding that music may be an effective balm for many other afflictions” such as autism, Alzheimer’s, and the physical stress of entering the world too early.
The effects of music go so far as to “reduce feelings of physical pain to boosting memory.” Interestingly, it doesn’t even matter what type of music one listens to or plays, the Mayo Clinic substantiates the research that music has health benefits.
Jesse Palidofsky, a song writer, teaches a class at Common Ground on the Hill, hosted by McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, “Music and Healing: Body, Mind and Soul.” He says in an article in the July 9 issue of the Carroll County Times*, that music saved his life. As a teenager he suffered with depression and “began song-writing as a self-therapy.”
He mentioned in the class that “former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords” learned to “sing before she could talk after experiencing brain damage from a shooting incident.”
“Music is more powerful than we know and we would not survive without it,” Palidofsky feels.
I remember one experience where these words rang true in our household. My husband was feeling depressed during one Christmas Season. You might say he had the “Bah, humbug” approach to the season. We were facing a crisis from almost every front. One evening while we were watching Dr. Seuss’, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, (this was always a must-see in our household), and I must add, this was not just for the children but for my husband – it is his favorite holiday flick.
When the last song at the end of the film finished, my husband was free of the depression that had plagued him.
“Welcome Christmas bring your cheer.
Cheer to all Who’s far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we.
Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand.”
With a new attitude, every challenging situation we faced that holiday season was settled in a calm and joyful way.
The story of Job in the Bible gives a glimpse into how past peoples have also found music a healing balm. In the depths of despair, having lost his family, all his property, and his health, Job asks this question: “Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?” His prayers are answered. He ends up with more than he had in the beginning.
In the midst of the darkness of depression the Grinch and Whos of Who-ville joining in song helped my husband realize that no matter what was going on in our family and household, “we had we” and we were “heart to heart and hand in hand” in the night as well as in the sunlight.