Just before Karen died, she had been reading a book she received as a gift from JoAnn by Rodale Press for Hallmark. It was actually for both of us, but Karen was the reader in the family.
The book was 50 things that really matter. She didn’t get through all 50 … her last chapter was 32. Ironically as I picked it up the other day and dusted it off, chapter 33 was “The Smell of a New Baby” — how fitting I rediscovered the book after experiencing the smell of not one but two babies over the past few months and a third just last week.
This book celebrates 50 of the simple things that really do matter in life. Within its pages are first person stories about the value of conversing over a good cup of coffee, the importance of hugs, the courage of living a simple life, the wisdom in a street musician’s words, the peace and relaxation in watching a candle flame.
I’m going to share some of these stories — the first person stories and my two cents worth — to encourage you, enlighten you and enrich your soul. But, most of all, I hope they may inspire you to see the real value in life.
This is the latest excerpt from 50 things that really matter.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said “without music, life would be a mistake.” I found the truth in those words several years ago, at a time when I had no music in my life.
I felt like something was terribly wrong, like I was losing my mind, but I couldn’t Figure out the problem. One cold November night, I tried to sort things out by running to the top of the highest mountain near my house. When I reached the top, sharp gusts of wind nipped at my ears. I stood there, wondering what to do next, when I swear I heard the wind shouting at me: “Listen! Listen!”
Astonished and bewildered, I cried out, “Listen to what?”
But there was only silence.
I listened to that cold silencefor nearly an hour.
Finally, I realized the silence itself was the answer. It was pointing out a void that music once had filled. When I was younger, I had always played music: piano at home; baritone horn in grade school; drums in high school. But in the two years before my visit to the mountaintop, I hadn’t even listened to the radio.
I climbed down the mountain and joined a local musical group the very next week. One month later, my unhappiness was gone — my spirits lifted by the rhythm and melody of live music. To this day, music cures whatever ails me.
As my experience showed, music can heal the soul. It has the power to create inner peace and harmony. Any type of recorded or live music can have this soothing, comforting effect: the gentle strum of an acoustic guitar; the deep groove of a jazz trio. These and other sounds are music to my ears. And they can be yours, too. All you have to do is listen.
By David Joachim, 50 things that really matter, Rodale Press for Hallmark
I can’t play a musical instrument and don’t know the difference between a sharp and a flat. In fact, I never played a musical instrument in my life. No piano — not even Chopsticks. No horn. No drums.
But I do appreciate music. It’s part of my life … the sound of it, the melody and even, sometimes, the words. I always have, dating back to those days of the transistor and AM only stations. It was/is a way of soothing me, even the loud music of my youth. And I generally play/played it loud enough to scare critters off the road or let people know I am arriving.
I don’t like all music – jazz, opera, hip-hop and rap come to mind – but I think I have a melodic palate that includes Christian to Adult Contemporary, Southern Gospel to Oldies/Classics, Country to Classical. On any given day, you can hear Third Day, Katy Perry, Gold City, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Carrie Underwood or the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 in G Minor coming out of my computer speakers at work and even overnight. And thanks to my SmartPhone apps like I♥Radio, Pandora, radioPup and TuneIn Radio, and a Wagner Sleek signal booster, my enjoyment extends to my car.
Often I’ll have music piped through the TV while I work. It’s background noise. In fact, most of the time, I couldn’t tell you what is playing. However, if True Love or When a Man Loves a Woman or Remember When or You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me or Because You Loved Me or I Will Always Love You or — well, you get the picture — start playing, you have my attention.
Studies say background music helps spark our subliminal mind which leads to increased creativity. It’s not recommended if you’re trying to memorize a list in order — facts, numbers, elements of the periodic.
I don’t know, but as far as I’m concerned, the sound of music is just another thing that really matters.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Live and let live is fine, but live and help live is better.