Monday, January 11, 2010

Deeper than We Know

I played at a memorial service a few days ago for an elderly friend who
died on Christmas Day. My friend, Les, would have celebrated his 91st
birthday had he lived through this past weekend. Not that it would have
meant that much to him, as Parkinson's disease and dementia had left him
frail and disconnected from much of life. Still a devoted group of
friends, family members and fellow travelers gathered on Saturday
afternoon to share memories and to celebrate the life of our dear friend
who is no longer with us.

It seems that I have played for more funerals in the past year than ever
before, and certainly more than seems appropriate. As I watch myself and
others process these experiences it seems interesting to notice how we use
music on these occasions to connect and communicate about things for which
words fail us. During the memorial service for Les we sang the hymn, "It
is Well with my Soul," and the gospel song, "Under His Wings." To the
assembled Lutheran crowd of mostly older adults, singing this music
brought comfort, assurance and hope. As they made their way through the
familiar verses, these people sang with ringing voices unlike what I hear
on most Sunday mornings. The heartfelt singing gave me goose bumps as the
sound reverberated through the sanctuary.

So as I remember Les today, I am especially grateful for his life and the
ways that it touched mine. And as I think about these things, I feel ever
so grateful for the ways music touches us, moves us and inspires us. I am
humbled by the privilege of serving as a musician who is called upon to
facilitate these moments that transcend the particulars of our individual
experience. Moments that move us to the point where we are drawn together
by a bond that is far deeper and richer than we ever expect.

Posted via email from pkpiano's posterous

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