I don’t sing when I’m hurt, . When wounded, I lose my melody. My tendency is to hang my harp in the willows, like the captive Israelites, when I’m held captive by heartache. That’s when I know I need recovery from emotional wounds. Do you find that to be true in your lowest moments? Many people do.
I was in a situation I’d never been in before a few years ago. After several years of successful ministry as pastor of a church, with no cause or justification, the church fired me. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe my state of mind! I had baptized four adults the day before. Many people from the community had been reached during my pastorate, and the church had nearly doubled in attendance. All but a few of the power brokers in the church loved my wife and me. Yet, they were able to leverage their influence and pressure the board to terminate my employment. My wife was out of town for our daughter’s surgery. I was alone, depressed, and on the brink of despair: no warning, no rationale, and no one to talk to about what had just happened.
The Need for Recovery
Over the next few months, I suffered from significant depression. Preaching was my life. Pastoring was my passion. My father had pastored fifty-five years and always assumed I would follow in his footsteps. Yet, here I was, unemployed, with no church and no desire to do much of anything. But the most significant deficiency in my life was the lack of a song. The music was gone. To quote Don McLean, I felt it was “the day the music died.”
Finally, I was able to get a job teaching school. During the thirty-minute drive to and from work each day it was silent. I refused to turn on the radio because I didn’t want to hear music. If I heard it, I knew I’d sing…and I didn’t want to sing. All I wanted to do was sulk. One day, my wife was riding with me, and she reached up and turned the radio on. I didn’t know the song, so I didn’t sing, but she did. The words caught my attention, and before I knew it, I was weeping. The lyrics were:
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be
Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
The Healing Came in Singing
Immediately I was healed. My heart began to beat again. I took a deep breath and felt like it had been months since I had felt fresh air in my lungs. And then…then I started to hum…and then sing. The healing was in the song! I knew I was on my way to emotional recovery from my wounds.
I learned a valuable lesson that day: I need to sing the most when I’ve lost my song. Singing makes my heart beat, and my lungs fill with air. My song is the spiritual blood that flows through my veins. So, when you don’t feel like singing, sing anyway. Your song is your life, so sing! And tell your heart to beat again.