Heart and Strings

“I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” – J. S. Bach

Religion is always a sensitive and difficult topic for me to discuss, especially in an increasingly secular society where my views, or those of my faith, are often judged. Even now, I am finding it extremely hard to write about it. I don’t think I have ever publicly written about my religious journey per se, so here goes…

I was born and raised in a very strong Catholic family.
Both sets of grandparents had converted during their adulthood, and therefore, my parents were raised in the faith as well.
And my uncles… and aunts… and cousins… and childhood friends. The works.
Going to Church was a weekly family event for as long as I can remember, and like every other Catholic child, I was put in Sunday School (I eventually taught classes during high school because volunteer hours), received my First Communion in the second grade, and finally Confirmation at the tender age of fourteen.

Even now, it is a big part of my life: I am one of the leaders for my church group in my town.

It is definitely a challenge to uphold these values that are not only of the Church, but also of my family. I have had my fair share of spiritual lows within the last few years, and what really brought me back to the higher, brighter side was the music.

I will sing of loyalty and of justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing. (Psalm 101:1, NRSV)

King David was a great poet and musician (famously known for playing the harp… or was it the lyre?) who composed many psalms that are contained in the Book of Psalms. He used music as a way to God – he was a man after God’s own heart.

I came across Casting Crowns‘ “Who Am I” around the start of high school – that was the first time I ever felt something greater while listening to a song, and it really stuck with me. I attended a religious retreat just before senior year, and experienced musical Praise & Worship for the first time; it brought me (and other fellow retreatants) to tears, it was quite moving. Ever since, I am able to experience feelings of peace, calm, and introspection whenever I listen to certain spiritual songs that hold deep meaning for me and my journey into my faith. Sometimes, the songs don’t even necessarily have to have religious content; just the presence of music is soothing to the soul, especially when I am the one making it.

People find God through many different mediums; I find Him through the music.
And I think this is a huge part of why I want to become a music therapist: to use the gift that God gave me – music, His gift to humanity – to spread the essence of my faith, to help the helpless, and to make a difference no matter how miniscule. All this, through the creation of music and by its very nature.

“Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.” – Walter Savage

This is one of the most popular Christian praise and worship songs out there. Even if you’re not religious, take a listen and enjoy the stillness of the music.