I am a person who can listen to just about any type of music and find value in it. I am a person who always likes to know what is trending, what is popular, what is new and how it affects what I do. I love understanding popular culture.
But there is this other side of me that likes to hang on to the old. It is a part of me that is rooted in something that is old-fashioned and, to some, outdated. So here is my confession…
For years I have been a closet Gaither-listener. There. I said it.
There is something that happens to me when I listen to “Gaither” music. If you don’t know what I am referring to, it’s the style of music that you would find on any of Bill Gaither’s Videos, the old-time hymns and the Southern gospel music that was so popular many years ago.
I am sitting at my computer now, listening to them sing in multiple-part harmony, “Whaaaaat a Lovely Name, the Name of Jeeeesuuuuus…” As I sit and listen to the melody sweetly waft around the room, beautiful memories of times past come flooding back.
They are memories of sitting next to my big sister as she played the piano after supper, singing while the older kids and my Dad played their instruments.
Each melody brings to mind my Dad tapping the steering wheel of the station wagon, whistling along while we sat in the back and harmonized to the old 8-tracks.
They are memories of an old church where we would sing from our old hymnbooks, some of which we had proudly emblazoned with our names engraved right on the front. They are memories of harmonizing with my brother as we made a recording for our church’s radio program.
They are memories of people who are no longer here, who are pulled from a place in time and called back to mind, carrying with them great memories of a better time.
These are memories of a time when I didn’t have all the cares I have now. It was a time when people didn’t come to me to solve their problems. I didn’t pay bills, I didn’t wonder how to manage my home. It was a time when life was about play and fun and music. People didn’t seem to get cancer, people didn’t seem to go bankrupt, and churches didn’t have conflict. It was a time when families stayed together.
Sure, those things happened then too, but at least I wasn’t painfully aware of all of life’s cares back then. I was safely surrounded by love, fun, care, and of course, music.
So, I sit and listen to the familiar tunes singing sweetly in my ear, and I remember the 10 year old me, playing and singing and not caring. Sometimes I feel like I’m underlining and bolding my age by admitting that I know all of those old songs word for word, that they make me feel so comforted when I listen to them.
But I’m proud of that old music. It will always be a part of me and it will always transport me back to that old time. It will remind me always of the person that I am underneath it all.
I have been left with music that speaks of faith, of joy through struggle, and of an eternal hope. Someday my children will hear a certain song and be reminded of their dear old mother and father, who are gone to Glory. What is the music that we are leaving behind? Some of it will be Gaither music, and some of it will be loud and heavy and flashy. Either way, I pray that it is music that always reminds them of when they were 8, 5 and 3 and life was simple, and God’s love wafted through our house through music.