Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Journey

Even though I’m a trained musician, I’m a big nerd when it comes to music. I know songs, but I don’t know the group that sings them. I might not the name of a music group, but I won’t know the names of the singers in the group. And I rarely listen to anything current so I’m massively outdated.

When I sing at Karoake, I don’t sing anything current. How could I? I don’t know anything.

When my friend asked me if I wanted to go see Journey and The Steve Miller Band this week, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t been to many concerts in my life. In high school, I saw Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. (Hey! That’s one name I actually know!) Later in life I saw Billy Joel. When Tim was sick I flew to Chicago to see Carole King and James Taylor.

I was getting ready to go to the concert on Tuesday and told Colin about it. I told him I had no idea what The Steve Miller Band played but he told me I would recognize a bunch of songs once I got there. He was right, I did.

I haven’t been to many concerts so I can’t compare. But I had the time of my life. After I got over the shock of having to pay $11 for a single beer, the rest of the night was easy.

Of course, I can’t shut off my sociology mind, even if I want to. I found it fascinating (and fun) how you can interact with total strangers because you are connecting at some event. I mean we were high-fiving and yelling at the top of our lungs, acting like we were all best friends. Then the last encore is over and everyone walks quickly to their car without even a backward glance. Not even a goodbye. Cracked me up. Good fun.

There were some of those not so shining moments. One of the guys in our row (of course, even with how “close” we all were, I didn’t even know his first name) leaned over to yell something and poked me in the forehead. Even broke the skin. He gave me a slurred apology, but I still have a small mark in case I forget the great time I had there.

A while later, I was standing with both hands high in the air singing at the top of my lungs. I was holding that 11 dollar beer in one of my hands when suddenly, SWOOSH! It was gone. In a flash. Same nameless forehead poker wacked my beer out of hands and sent it sailing down the row. I got another slurred apology. I looked around and saw some people looking shocked at the spilled beer on them and asking each other where the heck it came from. I yelled down to them and apologized. But you know how friendly concert folk are. The lady gave it back to me because it wasn’t empty. Hell yeah, I drank it! That damn thing cost 11 bucks!

Mostly, it was just a blast to know all those songs and remember what it was like when I was young and listening to them. I was saying that Frankie even knows a lot of Journey songs. The guy ahead of me asked me how I got him into it because he couldn’t get his seven year old daughter to get into it. I told him Frankie hears it in school during gym class. I am quite positive if he knew how much I loved them, he wouldn’t have gotten into it so much…lol!

Great night. Singing “Open Arms” and “Don’t Stop Believing” along with dozens of other songs was just a blast. So next time you want to go to a great concert, don’t forget to invite me! (P.S. I will let you pay for the beer!)


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Music

“Music is my life and I want to sing it, Music is my life and I want to share it, Music makes my life worthwhile.”

I will get into copyright trouble for quoting that without the author’s permission, but those are lyrics I remember from fifth grade chorus and it still pops into my head.

Frankie had his first band concert last night. He plays the tenor sax. It’s almost as big as he is. He was in the back row behind a snare drum and warned us we probably wouldn’t be able to see him. He was right. Couldn’t even see a hair on his head. But I recorded it all and loved every minute. I have such warm memories of concerts and music growing up. Who would have thought I’d be watching my own kid someday? And yes, I wondered a couple of times if Tim was watching from wherever he is. I just came across a journal entry I wrote in 2011 where Frankie said he thought his dad lived in a castle with lots of windows. Each window represented someone Tim loved. So if Tim wanted to watch Frankie’s concert, he just had to look out the “Frankie window.” I was imagining that last night as I recorded the concert.

A couple of years ago, I resigned as a music director from a church I loved very, very deeply after seven years of working with them. It was ridiculously sad and I’ve done nothing but flounder around trying to find a place for Frankie and I to attend since then.

Our neighbor is a pastor of a Baptist church. While I’m not a Baptist anymore in a theological sense, we have enjoyed going there. They have been slowly and patiently trying to get me to participate over the last year. The band has actually agreed to alter their practice schedule to accomodate mine. After a long talk with the pastor about all my fears, I finally agreed to a six week trial.

Music is such a deeply spiritual activity. I know I’ve missed it. As I watched all those kids on stage last night, I was very grateful that someone has pursued me again and encouraged me to use my gifts. He predicts in six weeks I will no longer be fearful, but actually be excited to be going to church again!

So our house is going to grow musically again and I think that’s a great thing. Music does help to make life worthwhile!