Henry Garza, guitarist and vocalist with Los Lonely Boys, wrote the lyrics to their song, Heaven. It was a prayer; a prayer motivated by his families financial and emotional hardships, combined with the death of his first-born son from sudden infant death syndrome. The prayer expressed his deep desire for healing. “I know there’s a better place/Than this place I’m livin’/How far is heaven?”
Henry’s heartfelt plea touched hearts worldwide. Because of the strength of the message, the album that included Heaven sold over 2 million copies.
Melodies move us emotionally and change us physically.
Hospitals around the United States are utilizing music in a wide variety of ways. Clinical studies now show that music can be used as a therapy in treating depression, schizophrenia, autism, dementia, and as well, substance abuse. Creating or listening to music can alleviate some negative symptoms of mental illness and ease pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, music improves communication, enhances memory, reduces pain sensation, counteracts depression, promotes activity (i.e. dancing, exercise), encourages feelings of relaxation, and calms and sedates. As well, its been reported that listening to happy, joyous music is good for your heart.
Recognizing that harmonic voices have the ability to inspire and heal, after the success of Heaven, Henry and his brothers, JoJo and Ringo, now make it a habit to sing to individuals who are suffering. Recently, the trio was at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.
Both tenderness and power can be expressed in song. These two qualities are paramount in erasing fear and pain.
As I look back at years of performing in a musical group, as well as the last 29 years of healing others with prayer, I see their connection. The tenderness and care of the divine, whether expressed by music or silent prayer, loosens tight grips on fear. The spiritual energy behind both music and a prayerful treatment can ease or erase pain. They enable suffering to be replaced by health.
Doesn’t music hint that we can live as free as a melody? Music does not present a vague or general sense of harmony, but a specific divine expression, tangible to spiritual sense. The reason you react to a song’s beat and melody is because you are spiritual. The divine beauty and energy expressed in music remind you of your spiritual freedom. Melodies and rhythms are slices of heaven being seen and felt right where you are.
Of course, music is not the only way we receive hints of heaven. Accountants witness balance and order, parents reflect unselfed love, and teachers expect and see wisdom and development. Life is worth living because of these divine qualities.
I learned recently that Mary Alice Dayton, a Christian healer in the early 1900s, reportedly suffered a spinal injury that was completely healed while she penned the words to a hymn. Whether or not this was actually how Dayton’s healing took place, this does not discount the fact that, for many years, others have used the strength of the hymn’s message as a prayerful and healing treatment for themselves and others.
Dayton wrote, “God could not make imperfect man/His model infinite;/Unhallowed thought He could not plan,/Love’s work and Love must fit. …And man does stand as God’s own child,/The image of His love./Let gladness ring from every tongue,/And heaven and earth approve.”
Apparently, betterment can take place because the language of music is a divine message. And, perhaps, the reason you and I love music so much is because we yearn to experience more and more of heaven. Each chord and chorus reveals that heaven is not that far away.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: KeithWommack.com