The power of music to calm, to stir, to break through defenses is a wonder to behold.  An hour each of the last two evenings sitting in front of the audio system listening to music after Mary Ann has gone to bed has been time very well spent. 

For me, almost immediately when the music begins, it is as if all the frustrations and harsh realities of the day no longer exist.  Mind you, it has to be what is in my estimation, good music.  If it is trite, or shallow, or poorly performed, I simply have to turn it off and put in another CD.  Of course music is a matter of taste.  What grabs one person might repel another. 

I generally cannot use music as a background to doing other things.  Maybe it is the structure of my brain in particular, but I pretty much need to do one thing at a time.  I either read or listen to music, very seldom do I try to do both at the same time.  When I used to walk neighborhood streets for exercise, I could listen to a CD as I walked.  If I am out in the woods walking, I listen to what is around me.  I am not interested in blocking that out with music. 

Since we are homebound so much of the time and the television is going almost constantly, having an hour just for music is a luxury.   While I usually become engaged in what is going on in the music and immerse myself in it, there is often a journey on which it takes me.  That journey takes me through my defenses, on past the frustrations of the day, into layers of being that are closer to the core of who I am.  Not always, but often, I begin reflecting on very basic issues. 

The place to which the music often takes me is a place where I can wander around in my mind and heart, looking pretty directly into my failures and weaknesses, feeling the pain.  It is not scary or depressing, just real.  There in that core of who I am lives the Grace of God.  It is surrounded in that Grace that I am able to peal away the layers behind which I hide, even from myself.  When finally the journey has taken me through the last layer, there I find a sense of security and safety. 

Don’t misunderstand.  This is not always pleasant.  The place to which I go is not always a happy place.   Often the worst of what lives in me is exposed.  I certainly don’t always like what I see.  It is just that whatever it is does not have the last word on who and what I am.  The spark of life given to me with every breath comes from a Someone who wants me to be — whoever or whatever I am.   I have to say that more often than not, no matter what I have seen on the journey, I find it exhilirating and refreshing.  Maybe in a sense it is a way to reboot my mind and heart. 

All of us are coded differently and find renewal in different ways.  Our life preservers vary.  What is common to all who are full time Caregivers is the need for life preservers to hang on to regularly so that we don’t drown in our challenges and frustrations. 

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