I believe anyone, anywhere, living under any environmental conditions can find comfort and solace simply by doing a little humming or singing. The truth of that thought was confirmed for me several weeks ago from my hotel room in Washington, DC.
At first I didn’t see him. My window provided a view of buildings in various stages of tear down, remodel or start from scratch. The foreground view was a large parking lot. Other than the hustling energy of the entire scene, nothing captured my attention until I noticed a carefully constructed little “dwelling” on the corner of the parking lot. It was a combination of cardboard boxes, plastic sheeting, a tattered black and white umbrella and a weathered sofa cushion. An equally tattered and weathered man sat on the seat surrounded by his stuff and sheltered by his umbrella.
I can’t call this gentleman “homeless” because his living area was obviously home to him. Breakfast and lunch came at some time when I was not at the window but he obviously was getting food from someone. He ate slowly and deliberately, occasionally tossing bread crusts to the clusters of pigeons who eagerly joined him in his living room.
Since I tend to be a busybody, I wanted a closer look at this fellow and his cleverly designed box house. I took the elevator to the lobby and exited across the street from him. His back was to me; the umbrella was down. I edged closer. I wasn’t sure but thought I heard him singing; yes he was! He was singing and occasionally yelling the nearly right notes to “Jingle Bells”. I stood there long enough to realize that song was probably the extent of his repertoire. But his heart was in it, the pigeons were pleased and my spirit was touched. The circumstances that may have brought him to his “box house” living conditions obviously did not squelch his desire to sing.
I’ve thought about him a lot since that weekend. I’ve wondered if he sang Jingle Bells because of its peppy rhythm or did he have some Christmas memories tucked away in the vault of his mind? They were possibly connected to boyhood times when Christmas was magical and images of a sleigh in the snow pleased his senses and encouraged his spirit. I will never know for sure but I do know music can serve as a pacifier for the soul. I assumed that was true for him; I know it’s true for me.
One of my pacifier songs is the simple “Jesus Loves Me”. Its comforting truth stretches back to my childhood days of nightly devotions with my mother. Each night we would sing it together before I crawled into bed. The tensions of my little world slipped away with the reminder of “yes Jesus loves me”.
If the tensions of your world seem heavy, may I suggest you pick a favorite song right now and start humming it. You may actually find yourself yelling out the words as you get into the spirit of singing your comfort song. Psalm 66:1 says to “shout out to God all the earth. Erupt with joy to the one True God!” If you find yourself shouting out to God I guarantee your spirit is going to be lifted up no matter where or how you live. (Of course, you may need to put a hold on shouting until you leave your office.)