‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out. Remember Galadriel and her Mirror!’
On Saturday, I witnessed Walla Walla Valley Academy Orchestra, play music in a rehabilitation & nursing home. This home receives a two star rating on yelp, the residents do not live in the lap of luxury. Their ailments are many and diverse, and hope is swallowed up in the muddy beige walls of their building. The staff for the most part look drained of all but a modicum of joy. While their bodies are present, the bulk of their affections don’t seem to have survived the trudge from the car park to their work station. The residents stalk along on crutches, drag contraptions with tanks and tubes, or are pushed in wheelchairs from room to room. The drama played out is almost ghoulish, it seems that there is a delicate silken thread that holds the residents to life in the present, and the thread can be snapped at any moment.
When the orchestra begun there were about 15 residents and a few staff aides in the room. They listened, raptured as music poured from the assembly of stringed instruments. Some sat erect facing the music, others turned their back heads lolled to the side, and some closed their eyes in concentrated breathing whilst letting the music wash over them. When the orchestra begun their third and final piece, more residents were wheeled into the dinning room, drawn by the power of the sweet melodies. The nurses who would normally leave, stood enchanted in the door way and listened. Residents who had lost the power of speech groaned and mumbled guttural expressions of joy, others wept with joy, clasping their hands as if offering a prayer of thanks for the majesty of the music.
Through music, light pierced the gloom, and blossomed in hearts a spring of beauty. Those 30 minutes were salubrious for the residents and staff. Flesh and sinew grew on the spectres with each song, clothing them with dignity and reverence, sons and daughters in the Imago Dei. I was reminded that no matter how cavernous the darkness, light, love and beauty will ultimately triumph.