Music, the Language of God

Thoughts after which I found out that Charlie had died.

image: CC0 Public Domain

I learned today that my friend, Charlie, had died.

It had been awhile since I had gone to that facility with my guitar. The chaos of life had disrupted my routine. So I hadn’t seen him in some time.

Yet when I learned that he was now among my “cloud of witnesses”, I was flooded with memories.

Of an acoustic guitar in my hands, and Charlie singing.

“The Wabash Cannonball”.

Words of which I didn’t know, but chords I fumbled to figure out … just so he could sing.

And keep singing.

Though I could only strum while he sang about cannonballs, we sang together on others.

About rainbows, oceans, ranges, rugged crosses, and amazing grace.

Charlie, God bless his soul, proves the power of music.

Because I don’t know what his particular diagnosis was, but I met him while he resided in the memory unit of local skilled care facility.

And God knows, I regret having gotten distracted from singing with him as much as I’ll miss never getting to do so again.

His full throated enthusiasm. His smile. The sparkle in his eyes.

The forgotten memories, yet remembered lyrics. Of songs embedded in the fabric of his soul. Even those I didn’t know, but tried to figure out how to strum along to.

Yet this is where the power of music is proven. And why I have been convicted of late to return to my former venues of song-leading.

Because music is a language embedded in the soul that no disease can conquer.

Music, the language of God, who I’d like to imagine sang creation into existence.

Proof, you ask?

A room full of persons, some of whom sat with aged daughters or sons they no longer recognized. Pastors whom they referred to as familiar friends they couldn’t name as frequent visitors.

Childlike in their affections for stuffed bears and dogs. Afflicted with diseases with no cures. Afflicting family members more than them, without intention … just unfortunate diagnosis.

A room full of persons, singing every word of “Over the Rainbow”. Flawlessly. Drawn from fishing line cast into depths where disease’s feeble fingers cannot touch. Nor memory betray.

Charlie often asked to sing the same song we had just sang. But were we to have sung it again. He would’ve nailed it.

With his smile and his sparkle.

Which I’ll miss.

And yet, after an unnecessary hiatus, the next time I visit that facility, it will be with guitar in hand.

To sing for and with the next “Charlie” who needs to sing.

And keep singing. For all eternity.

As Charlie does now.

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