Recently Gottfried (Banter Republic) wrote about the power of music. He reminded me of a most unforgettable experience I had back in the ‘60s when I was majoring in music therapy at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, CA.
My counselor, Wilhelmina Harbert, conducted a clinic for children every weekend. I attended and assisted her. One of our attendees was a 5 year old named Jimmy. Jimmy was a puzzle. He had never spoken a word. The doctors were unable to determine the cause. He could grunt and squeal, laugh and cry audibly, so we knew vocalization was possible. But, he didn’t talk. He was cute as a button and I loved him dearly. He loved me, too. I could tell —- he gave me big hugs when he came into our workshop each weekend.
One Saturday morning I was sitting on the floor with Jimmy in my lap. we were in a circle with other students and children. Mrs. Harbert was playing a silly, rhythmic, nonsense song. The words were repetitive. “Hos-po-di-po-miel-wi” 🎵 “Hospodipomielwi” 🎶 Joyfully, over and over I sang along with the others in the circle. Jimmy clapped along.
I bounced Jimmy on my lap. I laughed. I continued singing. A little girl, next to us, MaryJane – who had cerebral palsy – turned to Jimmy and sang close to his ear.
Suddenly Jimmy started to sing, too. 🎶 “Hos-po-di-po-miel-wi!!”🎶 “Hospodipomielwi” 🎵
Music unlocked whatever gate was locked to Jimmy’s words!!
I cried as we continued to sing. I hugged that little boy so tightly that he stopped singing and laughed! I’ll never forget that moment! Then he resumed singing :o)
A year later when I saw Jimmy with his mom in the grocery store, she stopped me and said, “ Oh, Jan, it’s so good to see you. I don’t know if I should thank you or not. A year ago I prayed daily for Jimmy to talk. And now I can’t get him to shut up!”
We laughed. I gave her and Jimmy a hug. “It wasn’t me,” I explained. “Thank the Lord. Thank the gift of prayer and friendship. Thank music! It performs miracles!”
Thank you, Gottfried, for encouraging me to tell my story. Yes, music changes lives! Thank you for recognizing its power.
Thanks, friends, for joining JanBeek today. Come again soon. And sing along with Susie Q and me!
Sing Along! Feel the Power of Music Lift Your Soul!
In my reading this morning, These Days – Daily Devotionals for Living by Faith, I was inspired by the commentary of Robin Gallaher Branch of Memphis, Tennessee. The scripture that motivated her thoughts was from Ezekiel 1-2:1
The word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar, and the hand of the Lord was on him there.
What Does That Scripture Mean?
Study that painting. Obviously artists have been inspired by this scripture. But somehow, as I read it again, the depth of its meaning escaped me. I was not quite sure what to make of it. Robin Branch, on the other hand, saw “A Vision is a Divine Interruption.”
She wrote, “I tell my students this: Expect Divine Interruptions.”
Why? Because they occur regularly in the Bible.
And that is what she understood was happening to Ezekiel in this passage. She wrote, “He was minding his own business when the heavens suddenly opened.”
Another artist depicted the scene this way:
Wow! Robin Branch describes it in words, “He saw four living creatures in human-like forms. Each had four faces: those of human being, lion, ox, and eagle… When the creatures moved, their wings sounded like mighty waters.”
What did he do? Ezekiel’s response was, “I fell on my face.” (verse 28)
God Interrupts Our Lives
Ezekiel shows us what to do when God interrupts our lives with a vision, a dream, or an angelic encounter. Worship and wait to be addressed!
But, how many of us have had God present Himself to us in a vision or a dream or an angelic encounter?
Maybe more of us than we realize! Do we open our eyes and hearts to recognize those defining moments? Do we see the angels in our midst? Do we know God makes divine appointments with us? Do we feel His presence?
Live in Expectancy
Do you live in a state of expectation, looking to see God in others? Do you know God is making broken things brand new? I see God in you! I see God in the defining moments of my life.
Daily Word, a Unity Publication, provides a daily word (or words) to ponder. It has a short devotional to enhance the word. Today’s word was “Expectation.” In the commentary, the title was, “Expectation keeps my mind positive and my heart full.
“Living in a state of expectancy kindles a quiet excitement in my heart, keeping me passionate about life.”
If I live in expectancy, I encounter defining moments …
Moments that define us are often not recognized until years later.
What are Defining Moments?
Of course, if you are married happily, you know a defining moment in your life is your wedding. That one is easy to recognize.
Defining moments are those that impact you, change your direction, or reinforce it. They change your thinking. They wake you up to an Ah-hah moment, or they sit quietly in your subconscious – ready for the day you are prepared to recognize their impact and put their lesson to work in your life.
I asked Bob, as we were together in our sanctuary this morning, doing our Bible Study and devotionals, “What are the defining moments of your life?”
Right away, he said, “Our wedding day.”
See, I told you.. that one’s a given. Especially for folks like us who have stuck it out through thick and thin for 59 years!
Not All Are Positive
Not all of your defining moments are going to be the mountaintop experiences. Some are experienced in the valleys of our lives.
One of mine was when I had a burst appendix. I thought I was constipated and that’s why I ached so much. I tried laxatives. I tried a therapeutic massage. It just got worse. Finally the pain was so intense, I couldn’t sleep and I was crying out. Bob took me at midnight to the emergency room in the hospital just 5 minutes from home. They ran a bunch of tests, took x-rays, thought it was diverticulitis. Sent the x-rays to the larger hospital in Bozeman (an hour’s drive away). The doctors there looked at them and called to say, “Get that lady in here right now! She has a burst appendix.”
Why was this a “defining moment”? A dear lady (one of our medical center volunteers named Donna) road with me in the ambulance to Bozeman held my hand and prayed with me the whole way. She was an angel on earth! She helped me survive the painful ride to the hospital. Once there, the doctors told me I could have died. At my age (I was 79 or 80), many don’t survive such an ordeal.
it’s probably not a good idea to ignore excruciating pain or self-medicate
it’s not wise to diagnose your own ailment
a prayer angel can make all the difference between life/death and comfort/agony
Some Defining Moments are Very Positive
A mountaintop defining moment for me occurred when I was only 16 years old. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. I was attending a summer “Music Therapy Clinic” at the College of the Pacific. One of our participants was a little boy named Jeremy. He about 4 years old and had never spoken. He had a voice. He could scream when he was upset. He could moan. He could whimper. But he had not spoken any words.
My music therapy counselor/teacher, Mrs. Harbert, was playing the piano. We all were sitting on the floor in a circle. Each of us had a child in our lap. Mine was Jeremy. Mrs. Harbert was playing a non-sensical, very rhythmic song. Its only word was “Hospodipomilwi.”
I bounced Jeremy on my lap and sang quietly in his ear.
All of a sudden, Jeremy began to sing!! “Hospodipomilwi”
A year or so later, I saw Jeremy and his mom when I was shopping near the college. She said, “I can’t believe I used to pray for him to speak. Now I can’t get him to stop talking!”
There is no greater thrill than to help a needy child
Music is magical
I wanted a career where I could work with children and music
God’s Divine Interruptions Change Us
We were living in California. Bob was still working as a beekeeper. I was retired. He wasn’t sure he was ready to retire yet, but we talked about it. We didn’t know where we wanted to live after his retirement, but we were pretty sure we didn’t want to stay in California. The state was growing in population faster than the the infra-structure could handle the numbers.
Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Life changed. We changed.
I won’t take you through the whole three year process, just suffice to say, it was a defining moment! His cancer caused us to reevaluate where we were, who we were, and where we wanted to be.
It is the reason we now live in this place we call God’s Country, Ennis Montana.
The Road of Life is Filled with Defining Moments
The road of life is filled with highs, lows, mountaintops and valleys, potholes and gravel.
When life knocks you down, when you are going along minding your own business and the heavens open up, or the bridge collapses and you fall into a crevice, remember Ezekiel.
He fell on his face. He called out to God. He waited for God to direct him.
Let God’s still small voice direct you. Like my Donna, watch for the angels all around you.
Let His strength illuminate your path. Like Josh Williams, see God in others and let their strength encourage you.
Let the defining moments speak to you. Like Jeremy, find your voice and sing! Hos-po-di-po-mil-wi