Thank you, Leagh, for this article. It reminded me of the joy we had when our kids were small, and we all had so much fun singing together.
The Songs We Choose to Sing
by Diana Leagh Matthews
Victor Hugo said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."
Music has been proven to have healing power to help stroke victims, dementia patients communicate, or assist individuals with a brain injury to heal. It also has a way of bringing people together whether through friendship, at a dance, or in worship.
In my new novel, “Carol of the Rooms,” I explore the power of music on the mind and soul. Terri Neely is a modern-day Scrooge, who has hardened her heart and become consumed by money and business. Her heart has grown calloused toward those around her. Music—which should soothe her—only irritates and angers her.
When she has an experience similar to the one in “A Christmas Carol,” she not only views the past but hears the soundtrack of her life. Listening to the songs that compromise her life reveals how each experience has truly impacted her heart, beliefs, and outlook.
We all have those songs that speak to our hearts and resonate with us. Often these songs remind us of the good times such as hanging out with friends, our first kiss, or falling in love. What song played at your wedding, or did you sing to your children when they were young?
Music is a powerful force. Studies have proven it can reduce stress and blood pressure, help us learn, stir up memories, or decreases anxiety and depression. Depending on the type of music we listen to, the beat and timbre can make us happy and full of joy or raise our blood pressure and create anger.
Every day we are faced with choices. How we react impacts our consequences and the ultimate outcome.
In my novel, Terri had options of how she could react. Instead of facing the issue head on, she shut down and lived in anger and misery. This anger pushed others away until harshness and loneliness emanated from her. A mental block formed, and she couldn’t grasp where she went wrong or how the music in her life impacted her soul.
To be honest, there’s been times when I’ve been like Terri. Where pain, abuse, and betrayal have wounded me deeply to the point that it’s difficult to trust myself or others. Unlike Terri, I’ve worked hard to cut through the lies and treachery, to surround myself with scripture and uplifting music. To choose to sing a different song than what I’ve been handed.
Saul, in the Bible, stood by and watched as Stephen was stoned for preaching the Word. (Acts 7:54-60) Sometime later, Saul was on the road to Damascus where he had letters approving his intention to arrest and prosecute believers of Christ. A light blinded him and a voice from heaven spoke to him. Saul lived as a blind man for three days but by the time “something like fish scales fell from his eyes he could see,” his life and heart had been forever changed. (Acts 8)
Saul would later become known as Paul. He preached fervently for the Lord but endured many hardships including being shipwrecked and imprisoned. However, he also wrote half of the New Testament.
Even when in prison and facing an unknown future “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25) Paul chose to see past his circumstances and to trust the Lord.
We always have a choice whether it’s in the music we listen to or our reactions. Sometimes it feels as if we’re all alone and it doesn’t matter but others are watching. We never know how our choices or the song we choose to sing impacts others. What song are you singing?
To celebrate my new release, I’m hosting a Christmas extravaganza with special guests, giveaways, and a ton of fun. Please join me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/994850748295488
Diana Leagh Matthews shares God’s love through her story from rebel to redeemed. Her day job is as a volunteer coordinator, but at night she writes and hunts genealogy. She gives programs as a speaker, teacher, vocalists, and presents historical monologues. Leagh (pronounced Lee) is the author of Carol of the Rooms, History Made Real, 90 Breath Prayers for the Caregiver, and others in the Breath Prayers series. She also writes the history behind hymns at DianaLeaghMatthews.com. While there you can sign up for her monthly newsletter where she shares all her news first.