By Justin D.
I often find myself stressed out and worried about any or all aspects of my personal life–there’s so much to do and not enough time to accomplish anything. How can I help my friends with their problems? How am I supposed to overcome my own struggles? I’ll never be good enough… the list of fears and doubts goes on and on. In these moments, I sit down at my piano and just play. My worries and cares melt away as my mind is filled with chord structures, harmonies, and various other intricacies of music. This process has become second nature to me, almost by instinct. I don’t think; I just play what I feel, making it all up as I go. It’s a therapeutic catharsis for me; you might even call it a form of meditation.
Some would say that it’s only because I’m doing something I love, but I know there’s more to it than that. Just listening to music helps me to cope with the trials and difficulties of life. Why is that? As I’ve spoken with fellow musicians and friends over the years, every one of them who is truly devoted to their music has agreed that when they sing or play, they feel like they are part of something larger than themselves. Each of them has felt a “Higher Power” involved.
While I’m happy to play piano for church meetings and I enjoy playing as a professional accompanist for others, music is most fulfilling for me when I use my talents for the glory of God. To me, that means releasing my cares of what other people think of my voice or my self-consciousness of how good people think I am at playing the piano, and performing solely for God. It’s as though I’m giving my whole soul to him. I can use the musical gifts that he has given me as a heartfelt prayer or an expression of worship and praise.
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of being involved in a concert where we depicted the last week of Jesus Christ’s mortal life, the Atonement, and the Resurrection through a cast of soloists, choir (which I sang in for this performance), and full orchestra. As I sang with the choir of my Savior at our performance, I felt God speaking to me through the music, bearing witness to me that Jesus is the Christ. It was a beautiful, indescribable moment. I had felt near to him before, but it had been fleeting and left little impact on my soul. Until that moment I had never experienced a feeling so vivid and powerful. My heart seemed to overflow under his influence and I felt transformed. It was as if some sort of channel had opened up between me and the heavens. Not only love, but light and truth descended upon me. I came to know that Christ truly suffered for my sins, and he knows my every sorrow and pain. Through his enabling grace, I can overcome my weaknesses. Because he lives, I will live again. His promises are sure, and he is with me in every moment of my life as I struggle on in faith. I came to know exactly what it means to “sing redeeming love,” to use a scriptural phrase. I felt his love stronger that night as my soul learned these truths than I ever had before and I will never forget that experience.
For me, this moment defines the true power that music has to allow us to commune with deity. As I continue on in my life, I seek to recreate that moment in each and every day. It happens when I listen to peaceful music. It happens as I allow the Lord to remove my sorrows and sufferings when I sit and play the piano. It happens as I sing for him, whether on my own or in front of an audience. He speaks to me in these sacred, special moments when I seek his presence. Music brings us closer to him and heals our weary and injured souls. Through it, our Father in Heaven can communicate with us and send manifestations of his love, letting us know that we are never alone.