I hate leaf-blowers: those handheld reverse vacuum cleaners that sound like jet engines.
Twice last week I had to stuff in earplugs . . . inside the house!
And yesterday on my morning walk a leaf-blower deadened the bird songs.
It is maddening.
March was a mixed-up mad month for me. Emergency surgery, two weddings, a friend’s death to grieve, her funeral eulogy to write and deliver, Jake’s big seven-oh birthday celebration (a 3-day cycling trip), our special anniversary day (a 5K race and dinner with old friends), and a road trip to Texas, spending a few days with dear Dad and seeing the realities and anxieties of Alzheimer’s.
My insides have something like a maddening leaf-blower roaring.
Today is the first time in a while that I do not have to get up and get going so I am indulging myself, sitting in bed, writing this story.
When I was 6 or 7, the Dallas house where we lived was situated on a cul-de-sac.
Back then we didn’t use French words. It was a circle and called a court. We lived on Alleghany Ct.
I played hopscotch and learned to ride a two-wheel bicycle on that circle and I walked to first grade from there.
Most afternoons, I would come home from school and lie down to rest on my parents big bed, with a gentle fan blowing nearby.
I still love napping with a fan. (Remembering the comforting presence of a fan is making me feel even more annoyed with rude leaf-blowers.)
One day I came home feeling sick. I don’t remember what ailed me, but I do remember pulling a small suitcase-like box out of a closet.
My record player.
I found this vintage image so you can picture it.
I think mine was pink.
So, that day I put one of my mom’s records on the turntable. It was a country music family singing gospel hymns.
In my mind I can still see their big hair and skinny faces on the album cover.
I put the needle on the record and got in bed.
While listening to those voices harmonize and twang, I felt the sickness go away.
Perhaps it was a coincidence, but I clearly remember thinking: The music healed me.
I don’t actually like country music now, but that doesn’t matter.
What I learned that day is true: Music has healing power.
And I felt God’s nearness.
An English poet wrote:
Music is God’s gift to man,
the only art of Heaven given to earth,
the only art of earth we take to Heaven.
— Walter Savage Landor
Art of heaven. Gift to man. Yes.
Bono said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.”
We’ve all been changed, haven’t we?
God uses music — in all types of circumstances, in myriad ways, and in diverse places — to comfort … to confront … to strengthen … to humble … to teach … to give rest … to spur on. And to heal.
As I type I hear Jake downstairs washing the dishes, talking to someone.
On the phone?
I listen harder.
Ohhhh, hehehe. He is talking to his birthday present: Alexa.
He is trying to get Alexa to play some music.
This is too funny.
But you know, if we figure out she works, this new Echo Dot dealie might be used by God like my little pink record player.
Leaf-blowers can dominate the air and cover up birdsongs — temporarily — just like Alzheimers’ and anxieties depress us — temporarily.
Because God’s gift of healing music is eternal.
And we can turn up the volume.