Prayer, Music and Retirement

When I was about 4 years old my mother would have me kneel at my bedside and say my prayers. The importance of that part of my life story has changed and I see it differently over the years.  I value this experience and I am grateful for it.

The early assumption that God was listening and that I could take problems to him was helpful as was going the confirmation of having been heard at times a help:  these thoughts are summed up so well in a quote by C.S. Lewis, "Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties."

Others has shared how they were taught similar lessons a very young age by saying a prayer many are familiar with: “Now I lay me down to sleep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. I have thought about this over the years, asking myself the question, if a person dies and his soul is taken what the soul is and what exactly that is taken.

 If the soul is eternal and lives on when the body dies, then it must be made of different materials. If that substance is spiritual, then where does it reside within our living bodies?  Is it separate or part of our living flesh? Some have referred to the soul as the seat or location of our character and emotions.

The soul is sometimes explained as the spirit within a person and the persons mental abilities, character, feelings, memories, perception, thinking, and even skills. If wherever our soul goes our particular skill are not needed, then perhaps our work ethic learned in obtaining those skills are part of the package.

Whatever it is that is going to go with me, if I die before I wake, I want to understand as much about as possible and make sure it is worth taking along.

 

Louis Armstrong also said that musicians “never retire until the music runs out” and “What we play is life”. What then is that music that is our life, if you are a not a musician, and what is it for each of us? How did that music or passion, get to be inside us? Armstrong seems to be saying that he needs the music to apply his work ethic too, but this leaves the question as to what my own music is? My conclusion is that my music/passion and what makes me feel alive, is family, reading, writing and service but they have grown and changed, and I can clearly see that as I look back over my life story.

 

Music can be a connection between our physical self and our very souls. We feel the music. It reflects our heart. Music with scriptures are hymns and we worship through hymns. The feelings of our heart are conveyed in prayer. Our bodies and faces reflect the images of happiness and sadness. Music and even singing opens those feelings. Sometimes we sing for what we long for using music to help us get by without things wanted.

Our passions might be our music. What do we long for? What do we have a passion for? Love and kindness are passions that can focuses and drive us for what we want. We lose ourselves in those feelings and, for some, opportunities for service to others reflects their hearts.  When our useful passions fill our minds, we have little place for worrying about ourselves.

In the play, Cats, the cats all audition for the opportunity to go back and have another life and tell us why in the song "Memory" telling us “They had the experience but missed the meaning”. They had lived once, their music had run out, and wanted another chance

For us, what we play, rather than music, can be just whatever it is that we love. It can be anything we chose, but then we need to feel passionate about it. If you’re lucky enough to love knowledge, learning, or service, then your indeed blessed. That, like the music for Louis, just never stops being an option.