I had a good time posting a wiki entry to a class blogsite one of my Writing Project friends created for Catholic High School in New Iberia, Louisiana. I was especially happy to contribute to these students’ blog because the blogsite was the result of a professional development workshop that I just directed with a group of local teachers learning to use blogs, wikis, and podcasts for teaching and learning. So this blogsite represents, in part, the fruit of our labor. But above and beyond, I was blessed by the process of thinking through the following post that I left at the blogsite’s wiki in response to the prompt “Music That Moves Me.” Here’s the wiki prompt, followed by my response, at their class blog’s SeedWiki
The prompt: “Please write about a song(s) that has had a significant impact on you in your life and tell us why. Please sign your post with your first name and last initial only for the sake of privacy. Thanks!”
I’m an older dude (over 50, which means “old enough to know, but young enough to go!”), and my nomination for “music that moves me” probably reflects my generation as well as this middle-aged station in life that I’ve reached, because my favorite, most meaningful piece of music in the whole world is the late 19th century Christian hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.” The lyrics were composed by Horatio Spafford, an American businessman, who lost his family to a tragic shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean. (Follow the link to the song title to learn the compelling story behind the lyrics and to hear the tune at the same time.)
I find this hymn piece moving for a variety of reasons: (1) I’ve heard the familiar music as long as I can remember, so I associate it with childhood memories of precious people and places; (2) the hymn’s theme of eternal hope in the face of earth’s direst circumstance excites and sustains me, especially in the face of the stress and uncertainty borne of this malaise that so easily besets me (and all of our human race!); and (3) knowing the soul-stirring true story behind Mr. Spafford’s lyrics gives this poetic expression wings to soar above and beyond the meanness of poetic platitude.
If I would have responded to this prompt 40 years ago, I would have probably nominated something much more secular and far less siginificant, at least in the eternal scope and hope of things. But that’s where I am today, and I appreciate the opportunity to join in!