by Steven Meyerhoff
The music can be upbeat, picking us up on those days when we may be spiritually lagging, or it can be gentle, calming us down if life’s just going too fast.
I am not a big music guy. Oh, I marvel at those who can sing, at those who can play an instrument, and especially those who can do both at the same time. But when I need background noise at home, I turn on the television, and when I’m in my car by myself, I’m on the AM dial, looking for some good talk-radio conversation or a ballgame of some kind.
About the only time I am a music guy is when I’m running. I have my Steve’s Good Songs for Running playlist on my phone, a list I occasionally update. The list is a good mix of some of my favorite classic oldies, some folk and country, some songs I just love to sing along to (to the dismay of anyone in earshot), songs that have personal significance and even current pop hits.
When I’m ready to run, I pop in my earbuds and get lost in the music. Sometimes the music distracts me from the aches and pains I’m feeling in my ankles, knees and hips. Sometimes the music is the right beat for picking me up a bit when I’ve been sagging, or slowing me down if I’ve been pushing the pace. Sometimes the music has just the right word or phrase that focuses my attention. Before I know it, my run is done.
It was during one of those runs recently that I realized that the music that we’ve heard over the years during the celebration of the Mass can have the same effect on us. In its backbeat and rhythm, or lyric or delivery, the music can distract us from the aches and pains we feel in our everyday lives.
The music can be upbeat, picking us up on those days when we may be spiritually lagging, or it can be gentle, calming us down if life’s just going too fast. Sometimes the song might conjure up a memory, or sometimes the music might simply be about the right word or phrase that hits home with us on a particular day, focusing our attention.
Like my running playlist, Steve’s Good Songs for Praying would be a good mix of favorite classics (Now Thank We All Our God), some folk and acoustic stuff (The King of Glory), some songs I just like to sing (Sons of God), songs that are just my favorites (Here I Am, Lord) and some upbeat pop (City of God). I’d have my songs to pick up my pace (Though the Mountains May Fall) and songs to slow me down (Be Not Afraid), and I’d have those songs that have personal significance (We Are Companions on a Journey).
Think about your own playlist, and think about the music you hear and you sing and how it affects you. Next time you’re feeling some pain, and need some distraction, next time you’re feeling like you’re going too fast or too slow and need a little reset, plug into your playlist and let the music play.