Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Sound of Music

I have to share this story with you. It's personal. Have you ever had a particular prayer that you're fully aware that you may be praying for the rest of your life? This story has dipped down into my prayers.

It's a conversation that my Mom had with my Dad last week. She shared it with me after the fact.

But first, to understand this story you must understand a little about my Dad. To understand someone, you have to find out their loves. What gives them joy?

For Dad, it's always been music. I've never seen him more at ease than when he's listening to his music.

Dad is music for me. Music is a part of his identity and he's the reason why I love it so much. It's Dad. He majored in Voice in college and music was always in our house growing up. Both Mom and Dad sang, played both the piano and guitar and Dad a few additional instruments such as the bass.

Dad had a gift. He had a knack with any instrument he picked up (except the drums, I'm guessing for the same reason he's not a dancer) and could play or sing anything if heard once. I'm not claiming he was Mozart, but God gave him an ear. I remember once, Dad trying to explain the beauty of music to me. He said it's math you can listen to.

As math has never been my forte, it's a miracle I didn't stop listening at the sound of that word. Dad's passion rubbed off on each one of us kids. My favorite was when Dad and I would drive to Huntsville for pitching practice. It wasn't the practice I liked - it was the ride with Dad.

On our way home, he would roll down the windows and I would drink my Sonic-sized cherry limeade while Dad provided commentary for every song that came on the oldies or classic rock station.

Have you ever met someone who was so excited about something that it was just downright contagious? That's how it is when Dad talks about music.

He even has a favorite chord. It's in the song, Green-Eyed Lady. He would play it on the "piano" that was either an empty seat or the lucky individual's thigh who sat next to him in the car for surprise effect. This was just part of a road trip with Dad.

To this day, I know some of the most random facts about old music such as that the singer of "96 Tears" officially changed his name to "?" and that "Yesterday" was originally titled "Scrambled Eggs". Because of Dad I know at what point the Beach Boys came in too early when recording "Good Vibrations". These will all come in handy one day in a game of Trivial Pursuit, but more importantly, they've become musical memories attached to my Dad.

Then Dad lost his hearing. Meningitis leaves many victims completely deaf. We don't know how much of it was the illness and how much of it was just plain old hearing loss that comes with age - but Dad is mostly deaf. I'm not using the term 'deaf' loosely. He really can't hear. He's lived the past couple of years in an almost completely muffled world. He's tried a few hearing aids here and there, but they haven't really been able to help.

He can't hear the music like he used to. It's like a painter who loses his sight. I think this is why he still loves the classics - he has memorized their sound in his mind so he can fill in the gaps with his memory. He doesn't need to listen to them to hear them, if that makes sense.

There was one night when I was in high school that Dad's hearing miraculously returned. Mom was asleep and Dad was at the computer. Tears were streaming down his face and he told me it was crazy - but his ears had opened up.

He was listening to music. Dad and I stayed up until two in the morning looking up every song he could think of. He wanted to get it all in. I can still see his face glinting with tears looking at the screen with the biggest smile of joy on his face. It was his music.

The next morning his hearing was gone again. From that day on, I prayed that God would give Dad another miracle and restore his hearing.

I haven't heard my Dad sing, and I mean really sing, in more than 13 years.

I've related this just so you can understand my Dad. Now to the conversation I wanted to share.

When Dad came home from work last week, Mom noticed that there was something about his voice that didn't sound right. So she asked about his day. Dad said "I had a great day!"

"Well, are you feeling ok?" -
"Yeah, I feel great!"

"You sound different." -
"Well, my throat's a little a sore."

"Maybe you're getting sick." - "Oh no, I'm not getting sick. I know what it's from."

"Well, what's it from?" - "

And that's when Dad told Mom that he sang for two hours straight in his truck with the windows rolled down.

This was the day Dad was able to wear his brand new hearing aids. And get this, they actually work. I can't tell you how much joy this story brought to my heart.

Dad has his music back. And that's music to my ears.


  1. Reading this now brings me to tear, tears of joy now! I absolutely love my music, can't sing or play instruments, but music is my outlet. Can't imagine not being able to hear it. I'm so happy those hearing aides actually worked! Thank you so much for telling this touching story!

  2. That's a precious story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I LOVE THIS STORY!! When I think about your mom and dad I always think of music. Your dad and his guitar, your mom and her sisters singing at church. This brough tears to my eyes. So glad his hearing aids are working!

  4. Thanks for letting me share, ladies!