tonight Jonathan and i were laying by our beautifully decorated Christmas tree listening to music (we cut down our own tree this year, and so it's more sparkly then ever in our eyes). the voices rose into an emotional crescendo during O Holy Night (my favorite Christmas song), and at the moment i was thinking terrible thoughts. . . thoughts about the evil in the world and the darkness that tumbles uncontrollably into our lives. i realized then that if i were ever to be emotionally furious, that is, powerfully full of feelings, good or bad, then singing would be the only way for me to express it fully. i can imagine myself singing in the deepest of grief, that being the only way to rid myself of the toxicity of pain.
at the same odd moment, i was astounded with the perfection and purity of music. . . the joy of it so raw it makes us hurt. I've always wondered what makes it as influential as it is, and my reading this morning shed new light on it.
it was a verse i learned as a song when i was little, so i found it again tonight because i remembered the reference as a melody. "the Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song" (Is. 12).
i have a great aunt who struggles through alzheimers, and even though she can't talk and doesn't remember people, she remembers every single hymn she's ever sung.