The Newborn King is born over and over, as love pours into this vale of tears. Here is one of those precious moments when I was given the grace to be a mid-wife:
For about ten years, I spent Christmas day visiting a Mental Hospital near my home in Vermont to play Christmas carols for the patients. This was during a difficult time in my life, and I of course received much more than I gave.
In one ward for the severely ill, I was playing a broken down old piano, and decided to play the simplest of carols: Silent Night. After just a couple of measures, an elderly man made his way to my side, and grasped my left hand in both of his with a firm grip. I left my hand in his, and continued playing as best I could with one hand. Slowly, tentatively, he began to sing the words with a dry, eggshell voice. As I played the carol for the second time, his voice got stronger and his timing was impeccable. When we finished, he didn’t smile or say a word. He just returned to his chair in the corner.
As I was leaving the ward a nurse approached me with tears in her eyes. She gave me a warm embrace and said, “That man who sang with you…?” “Yes?” I prompted. “He has not uttered a word nor even a sound in over thirty years. I have never seen anything like what just happened.”
The sacred power of music has never been so clear to me. It felt as though I had been given the gift of music for just that very moment. Silent Night became for him and for me a holy night:
for a brief moment
all was calm and all was bright
troubled souls held hands