I believe in gospel music.
It’s soul food. It eats me up like flames, permeating my skin and sinking into my heart. Gospel music is painful and unguarded. It fires me up to travel the world and sing. Sing of peace...of hope...of love...of trust...of joy...of understanding.
Gospel music helped me when I went through a very dark time in my life. My parents lost their jobs. My family had no house, no family nearby. Sometimes, I just wanted to escape. I didn’t understand why we had lost our jobs. At ten years old, I felt like I had lost my own livelihood.
We packed most of our stuff into a storage locker. I remember looking around a bare room. There were only dust bunnies huddling in a corner to keep me company. On December 1st, we packed our remaining possessions into two lumbering cars and trundled off to Maine, leaving my new-found friends to travel away. Away...
I remember that drive. I prayed that our car wouldn’t break down on the twenty-four hour journey. I remember being so confused about going to live with my grandmother. Confused at going from populated suburbia to sparse country. Confused about the sudden changes in my life.
But in the midst of all that sadness, confusion, despair and fear, I found peace. Peace in music. Gospel music, specifically. Peace deeper and more plain than I can describe. The peace that passes understanding. The peace that comes from singing gospel music. I sang when I was sad and the peace the music gave me lifted me up...up...like I was going to fly. Music put a real smile on my face as opposed to the pained grimace I had become used to wearing.
One particular song helped me to push through that time. It’s called “Total Praise”: You are the source of my strength, you are the strength of my life; I lift my hands in total praise to you. These words remind me that I’ll always make it through.
Now, my parents have jobs as pastors of a church in Providence. But I still sing. I sing and it makes me cry. Cry because I am here and I want to tell the world that peace is the great song the Earth sings. I believe that peace can be found in the midst of strife. And that peace, that song, is deep in my very soul. So deep, it’s hard to feel it...to see it. That peace is gospel music.