Shakespeare once wrote, “Music soothes the savage beast". The “savage beast” in this case is the pain of grief and sense of loss felt when you lose someone. Many persons can attest to the calming effect music has on the one who is dying, the caregiver and family members. I believe that Henry Twells in 1868 penned these words with the view that comfort and hope would be ours:
At even, ere the sun was set,
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
O, in what divers pains they met!
O, with what joy they went away!
Once more ’tis eventide, and we,
Oppressed with various ills, draw near;
What if Thyself we cannot see?
We know that Thou art ever near.
O Savior Christ, our woes dispel;
For some are sick, and some are sad;
And some have never loved Thee well,
And some have lost the love they had.
And none, O Lord, have perfect rest,
For none are wholly free from sin;
And they who fain would serve Thee best
Are conscious most of wrong within.
And some have found the world is vain,
Yet from the world, they break not free;
And some have friends who give them pain,
Yet have not sought a friend in thee.
O Savior Christ, Thou too art man;
Thou has been troubled, tempted, tried;
Thy kind but searching glance can scan
The very wounds that shame would hide.
Thy touch has still its ancient power.
No word from Thee can fruitless fall;
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
And in Thy mercy heal us all.
Here are some tips that will help you to create a “sacred space of music” for the patient, his or her family and yourself.
1. Determine if the patient likes music and what type.
2. Get permission from the hospital staff to use a small Recorder/CD player.
3. Discuss with the family if you can provide music for the patient and allow them to bring some favourite musical pieces for the individual.
4. Sit with the person and if they initiate singing, sing along with them. Some hospitals and institutions allow ‘live music’ to be played and it is now a ministry offered by pastoral care providers, chaplains and hospital staff.
There are various types of Christian music and once you know which one will be helpful you can choose from the following: Sacred Hymns & Solos, Celtic Praise, Instrumental Christian Music, Classical Tunes, Praise & Worship, The Psalms and Sounds of Nature.
In addition to this collection, also include music that the individual likes such as: Jazz, Latin or Caribbean Music, Country Western and so on.
I trust that this shared information will help you in your ministry to others who suffered loss.
Author: R Cecilia Askew
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