One of the constants in our lives is words. We constantly use words to express ourselves, to glimpse the souls of others, and words stream through our private thoughts during all our waking hours and even many sleeping ones. Words are in many ways the skeleton of our conscious selves.
A person who has grown up with anger and abuse will have a large vocabulary of such words than one who has grown up in a loving home. As we become adults, we might intellectually come to understand the meaning of some words but we won’t attach the same emotional punch to them that other people might. Our personal experience not only molds our vocabulary, but it directs the possible effect words might have on us.
We take them for granted so often.
The one place where we don’t take them for granted is when we’re singing. Even if mindlessly humming a song we’re tuning into that state of being we associate with the music. If we’re paying attention to words, music, and our creation of them then this effect is enhanced seven fold.
In choir today we’re practicing an Easter song about the Atonement of Christ in Gesthemane. When practicing music, there is a focus on reading it, hitting the notes, and most importantly, expressing the feeling. All the while, we’re listening to the others around us and blending our voices in harmony to the choir. And at the same time, all these musically charged words and phrases are bringing up the emotions attached to them. And everyone (participating) in the choir is experiencing this energy that fills up the room.
I love Easter songs, songs of the Atonement so much because these in particular emphasize the incredible love that Heavenly Father and Jesus have for us. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, because he knows the past that we can’t remember, and the future that we can’t see, and he knows our deepest heart. And he loves each individual. We have only to look up and see. We mess up, screw up our lives and hurt others. Yet through his love we can put this behind us and build ourselves up to be better people. To do more good and spread more love through the world, without any baggage dragging us down.
The baggage doesn’t have to be sin, either. It can be depression, pain, fear… anything that is holding us back is subject to the Grace of Christ. The Gospel is meant to give peace and strength to us in this life, here and now. Followers are meant to extend that out in service and love to others.
The words I just wrote don’t really capture the essence of the feelings and thoughts during singing. The feeling is very strong, and the energy one comes away with after a good practice is incredible.