Music is comforting in times of strife

Published 1:47 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Music was a part of my world from the time I was young. There were records on the stereo lots of nights as my parents listened to their favorites. We heard everything from big band tunes to folk songs.

When I got older, I had a transistor radio clued to my ear most of the time. For the younger readers, listening to transistor radios was my generation’s version of the iPod or streaming music to wireless headphones. Might seem primitive today, but they were cool way back when.

I was lucky to come of age at a time when music became a way to say something about things going on in the world. Lyrics were about more than boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl reunite and dance on the beach.

There were songs about peace and love and unity. Social issues were suddenly song topics. That music spoke to me in a way that touched something deep within.

My husband and I have a music-filled house, too. In fact, there is a picture hanging above the desk where I write that reads, “Music is what feelings sound like.” That’s what music does for me, gives sound to feelings.

So, it’s no surprise that when life seems chaotic or confusing, I turn to music for comfort and hope. This past weekend I turned off the news and found myself listening to the Styx song, “Show Me the Way.” It became, for me, a meditation. Here are some of the lyrics.


“Every night I say a prayer in the hope that there’s a heaven

But every day I’m more confused as the saints turn into sinners

All the heroes and legends I knew as a child have fallen to idols of clay

And I feel this empty place inside, so afraid that I’ve lost my faith


Show me the way, show me the way…


…And as I slowly drift to sleep, for a moment dreams are sacred

I close my eyes and know there’s peace in a world so filled with hatred

Then I wake up each morning and turn on the news to find we’ve so far to go

And I keep on hoping for a sign, so afraid I just won’t know…


…Show me the way, show me the way


Give me the strength and the courage

To believe that I’ll get there someday

And please show me the way…”


I fell asleep with those words on my lips, “show me the way.”

It feels a little like we’ve lost our way in this country. We’ve divided into our camps of right and wrong. No one wants to move from his or her side to the middle where we might meet on common ground. It does seem like “a world so filled with hatred…”

Then I woke up to a sunny morning and heard echoing in my head another song that felt like an answered prayer. Consider these lyrics from “The Flame,” a song on a Beth Nielsen Chapman album.

I’ll end with these words because this music expresses what my feelings sound like and I think this message is what our world needs to hear and take to heart right now.

O come ye now unto the flame

Keep it through the night

Nourish it and share its warmth

And spend its precious light

The torch is passed among us all

To help us understand

A covenant of brotherhood

That joins our open hand


We are standing at the edge

Faced with just one choice

Teach each other to be kind

And let our hearts rejoice

As different as we seem to be

We are still the same

Divided by our separate walls

But joined before the flame


O come ye now unto the flame

Keep it through the night

Shelter and embrace it’s warmth

And spend it’s precious light

The darkness makes us all afraid

But we are not alone

The beacon of our common love

Will guide our journey home