November 09, 2018

I had a conversation with a young mother recently. Music from the speakers spilled over the bleachers and she winced as she reined in her wandering toddler. “Not to your liking?” I asked.

“I don’t really like music.”

Not like music? How could anyone not like music? “It is different,” I replied. “But surely you like some music? Hymns, what would church be without the music?”

She made another diving snatch at a fleeing t-shirt and grunted, “We don’t go to church often.”

How sad, I thought. “What about Christmas carols, you have to like those.”

“Yes, but they aren’t real music, they’re only for the holidays.”

Okay, I thought, I won’t share that I often listen to Christmas music in the summer. “What about children’s songs? Do you sing nursery rhymes with your little one?” Fishing him from out beneath the bleacher, she plopped him down in front of her with a toy tractor and some little cars. “No, not really,” she said with her breath coming in short bursts.

I watched for a time as she continued to snatch peeks at the game and even occasionally managed a shout of encouragement to her older child on the field. Mostly she was busy corralling the toddler and I’m sure music with all its beauty was lost in the everyday task of young motherhood.

When we travel with the grandkids the music is always on, usually through headphones or earbuds, but often through the radio speakers. I’ve gained an appreciation for some of it, and a begrudging tolerance for a few of the “rappy” songs. It’s good to broaden my horizons with music I never would hear, having fallen into a wide comfort zone of folk, country, and spiritual music.

But a daily existence without some kind of music? I can’t even imagine what that must be like?

Halloween is behind us now, but I still hear echoes of “The Monster Mash” in the back of my mind. We’re coming up on Thanksgiving and “Now Thank We All Our God” and “Over the River” will soon wind in and out of my thoughts. I’ve already sorted through my CD’s and found my Christmas favorites. Can’t wait to crank up the Muppets and John Denver Christmas Special CD.

There are times when music is on the back burner as I tend to more detail-oriented tasks and I can’t let my concentration drift off into the lyrics of “All Souls Night.” And yet, the whispers are still there. But a daily existence without some kind of music? I can’t even imagine what that must be like.