Thoughts from a Musician's Heart
Genesis 2:18 - Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
It’s hard to write or talk about anything nowadays without framing it within the pandemic. Every email or phone conversation seems to end with “be safe” or “stay healthy.” Regardless of where you stand or how you feel about the pandemic, there is one thing that concerns me more than the virus itself, and that is how it has isolated people and given rise to a spirit of loneliness. Even without a pandemic, people deal with loneliness, but the loneliness I sense today is at a completely different level.
Granted, not everyone is affected the same way. The social continuum is rather long and people are scattered, from the introverted to the extroverted. I know a woman whose husband is almost off the scale at the introverted end. After the shutdowns had been implemented back in March and several weeks had gone by, she asked him how he was doing with being away from everybody, especially his co-workers. His answer was, “Honey, I’ve been preparing my entire life for this moment.” On the other extreme, another person I know, who happens to be a social butterfly, has several comorbidities that have kept her almost completely shut in. It goes against her very nature and she feels very cut-off from her numerous friends.
As musicians, we are especially aware of the power that music has on ministering to the lonely. We have all learned what it’s like to spend time alone since most of us have spent literally thousands of hours alone in a practice room. And we know that even in those times alone, God is with us. But we also know that God was with Adam in the garden, and even so, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone…” Though this scripture refers to marriage, there’s the larger implication that we all need people in our lives. This could be a spouse, a sibling, a relative, a close friend, etc. This verse comes in the second chapter of Genesis, just after God has created the heavens and the earth, and He saw His creation was good. But here, God mentions, for the first time, that something is not good - that the creation He made in His image is alone. At that moment, God did not give Adam music to minister to his loneliness or to keep him company. No, He created a “helper,” another human.
Recently, I've tried to make a special effort to call and talk to people more often than usual. There is one friend, a widow, who has several comorbidities and scarcely leaves her home. I email her regularly and we call and talk every week. She invited me for a visit two weeks ago and I carved out some time to go see her. To be completely honest, she also threw in a jar of blueberry marmalade. I drove to her town and she asked me to wear a mask before entering her house. She wore a visor and sat on the other side of the room. I visited with her for two hours and we talked about everything in the universe, including music. It meant the world to her for me to come visit. She told me so in an email the next day. I emailed her back to let her know how a visit like that always works both ways, you know, the blesser becomes the blessed!
There’s a reason we are called the body of Christ. We need one another in each other’s lives, and especially in times like this. (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-26). Let’s all make a conscious effort to reach out to those that we know, especially those that may be alone, and let’s be a helper. Pray that God will give you words of encouragement, words of light, and prayers that will dispel loneliness.
Chip lives in Gaffney, SC with his wife Karen, also a clarinetist, and their two youngest sons.
Scriptures for meditation:
-2 Corinthians 1:3-4