Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Music In The World Of Melanoma

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
— Bob Marley

Since Marley was a fellow warrior, who died from melanoma, it's fitting to quote him. He knew pain. Pain of life and pain of cancer. And he will always be right. There's just something about music that takes the pain away and transports us to a better place, even if temporarily. 

Music has always played an important role in God's created order. In fact, many early church theologians held that God sang creation into being instead of speaking it into being. The Hebrew word we normally translate "said" can also be translated "sang" and given the prominence of music and singing in the Bible, I thoroughly love the idea of God belting out songs, maybe even some disco, as the universe took shape. Surely Rock-N-Roll was in God's repertoire and a little Beach Music as well.

God loves a party, knows how to throw a feast with style and flair, elicits praise, tells us to worship with music and dance, and is, in short, a party animal! I'm not sure why we often think of God as a long-faced sourpuss who, if He sang creation into being, sang a dirge. And a really long, slow one at that. 

Music was so important in the grand scheme of things that when the first Temple was complete, the first men assigned to any function in the Temple were "men to lead the music at the house of the LORD...."!  And let's not forget the Psalms, which means "songs."

And so it is that music plays a huge part in soothing the beast that rages within those of us who travel along Melanoma Road. We each have our own tastes, but I have yet to meet a fellow traveler that didn't reach for a tune every once-in-a-while when stressed out, worried, happy, needing to vent, or needing to get down in a Risky Business sort of way and show some serious attirude when no one else was around to watch. No matter what mood we're in there is music to match it, change it, or lull us to sleep so we can start over.

I find much in contemporary Christian music, myself, that lends itself to whatever mood I'm contending with or that is contending with me. I also love the traditional hymns of the Church. God blesses and uses other genres. We in the world of melanoma have our Patron Saints we can turn to.

We have Bob Marley. There's something about him reassuring us in Three Little Birds:
Dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin: dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right!

That's something of a theme song for many of us when it's Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off To Scans We Go time.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

We have Bruce Springsteen. Danny Federici was integral to E Street Band for almost 40 years and died from melanoma in 2008. According to information on the Danny Fund page, Hungry Heart is one song that showcased his talents. The Boss has also made a PSA on behalf of melanoma research. Whatever we deal with, Bruce has a song that fits and that can set our feet and hearts to dancing, taking our minds off our troubles for  a while.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

And then, we have our own warrior who takes these masters of music and others, puts his own melanoma twist to the classics, and makes their music our music even more so. Hotel Melanoma gives us lyrics we can relate to set to the music we love. We don't get many perks at HM. At least we get a godly one. Who knew?

Who knew that even when we travel a dark treacherous road like cancer, that God has people in place, using their talents in ways that lift our journey, speak to our souls, soothe the pain within and without, and that can sing a new creation into our lives and world? Even if for a moment?

Music has that power. A forceful rocking tune has that power. A gentle soulful ballad has that power. Belting along with conviction over chaos has that power. Drowning out the voices of doom and gloom that pull us down with songs that lift us up has that power.

It's an awesome power. It's a transforming power. It's the power of music.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

And I, for one, am so grateful!