Everywhere I turn, there is some disturbance that compels me to stop and pay attention. Walking down the street, someone calls out, cars rush by, doors slam, and children laugh while playing on corners. Today is a world filled with dissonant noises, ceaseless until my head falls to the pillow; ears ringing and mind whirling from the constant commotion. It’s hard to not listen to noise in a society immersed in it. The sounds of the world are disconcerting, degrading, and stressful. Music can be harmonious, peaceful, and uplifting. Noise is created without deliberation; music comes from thoughtful contemplation and created to uplift and enhance the lives of others.
This summer I was privileged to visit some church historic sights in and near New York with friends. On our last day, we visited the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith received the first vision. As I stepped in the Grove, I felt a difference. It was as if the busy rush of the world faded and slowed down, leaving a quiet haven of peace. I wandered until I found a small empty clearing and sat on a mossy log, just listening. After a few minutes, the sun emerged from behind the clouds and began to shine through the trees around me. A hymn began to play in my head. “Oh, how lovely was the morning! Radiant beamed the sun above…” (Hymn 26). The Spirit overcame me so strongly; I had tears prickling my eyes and chills down my spine. I felt as though I was there as Joseph spoke with the Lord. I closed my eyes and imagined his experience as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang in the background. The song gradually faded and I opened my eyes to find that I had been in the Grove for over an hour.
Someone once described music to me as being a painter’s brush; each note representing a unique color of the spectrum. A blank canvas covered with horizontal lines as a guide for the master’s hand. Dabs, streaks, and splashes soon fill the page, running together to form a masterpiece. But glorious music isn’t always composed on paper. Good music calms, enriches and edifies. Good music doesn’t have to take place in a concert hall. Quiet glens, majestic forests, or mountain tops filled with the wind whistling, leaves rustling, and streams laughing. They are symphonies in the making. His landscapes are music.
I am constantly thinking of music, whether it’s songs on the radio, leaves rustling along the sidewalk, hands slapping in rhythm of a song, or wind blowing through tall grass with the cicadas humming. When I hear the clashing thrums of the world’s noise I cringe and lose the peace that is there with music. When I am still and listen to the waves crashing or thunder rolling, I feel the love of the Lord and calm in my heart.
I believe in music.