Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
the Rock Doc
By Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT, psychologist
* Details contained in the original correspondence, or inquiry have been omitted or otherwise altered to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and to make key spiritual/psychological points.
Dear Rock Doc:
Iím a single mom, or was, until my only son died. His father and I were never married and he took off and moved to another country when he found out that I was pregnant. I had the baby out of wedlock and feel that God punished me by taking my son away.
I am a Christian, but a backsliding one---BIG TIME! I donít do drugs, but I drink a lot, mostly to drown my sorrows.
I grew up in a Bible-believing, church-going family that was very loving. We were poor as dirt, but always managed to get through rough times because we were a family that prayed together.
We were also a musical family. Iíve always loved that song by Merle Haggard called Daddy Frank, because even though there were no handicaps in my family, the story about a family jamming together really seemed to make me reflect on my own childhood.
My dad had a successful musical career between selling various items door-to-door with various companies, and as a back-up singer in a band generally associated with the Bakersfield Sound. He always wanted to be the frontman for a band of his own, but that never materialized. Then he developed polyps on his vocal chords and had to eventually give up singing altogether.
As a young woman in my teens, I just played and sang for fun, but by the time I hit my 20s, I became quite skilled myself as a vocalist and a pretty good mandolin and guitar player. I never had a top 40 hit, but was getting close to securing a contract with a major record label when my then 5-year-old boy was struck and killed by a car as he was crossing the street.
My overwhelming sense of grief never went away. I still have letters associated with my contract negotiations the bottom drawer of my desk at home, and Iíll probably never sign them or follow-up.
Without my son, nothing matters to me. I donít care about music. I donít care about anything at all. I heard from somebody at a Cake concert tell me about a psychologist that was on one of their music videos. When I googled you in to check out the music video (very good by the way), I noticed an advice column that you offered on a regular basis over at Phantom Tollbooth.
When I found out the advice column was mainly for troubled musicians, I thought Iíd give you a try.
Iím not suicidal or anything, so please to have me committed. Iím just very depressed, and donít feel like doing the things I used to get lost of pleasure from.
I do occasionally still go to concerts and download song (Iíve even become somewhat of an internet groupie as it concerns your music). But I just canít get into things whole-heartedly like I used to when my son was around.
Dear Grieving Groupie:
I appreciate your interest in my music, and in the Cake music video. I am terribly sorry to hear about the early and tragic loss of your son. I feel your sense of urgency in wanting to know why God allows so many tears to flow, and so much suffering to occur, even in the very children he dearly cares for. It put that into this song---one that, (along with the response that will follow) will help you to get back up on your feet again).
How Many Tears Can One Ocean Hold
As far as the reason God allowed this tragic event to take place in your life, one hypothesis is as good as another and they are probably all equal as unsatisfactory.
There are some questions that may continue to haunt us about the reason things happen as they do until the day we meet our savior in heaven. But I donít think you can assume that this represents some sort of punishment from God over having your son out of wedlock.
Remember, the Bible is pretty clear in teaching, that, despite the fact that we are all born in sin, we are to expect good things, and not evil from the God who loves us more than anyone could possibly fathom.
Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
You may have asked a thousand times, for God to bring back your child and it may rip your heart out when that doesnít happen. But he does promise to bring good things to those who ask, and even though he is not likely to bring back your son, he will provide a way for you to bear the pain and suffering. Sometimes it takes a lot of waiting, but the Bible promises that "They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings, as eagles/they shall run and not be weary/they shall walk and not faintÖ" Still, the waiting can be unbearable. But if you're waiting for something to come directly from heaven, you may want to rather look around at some of the people God has placed upon this earth for our benefit.
God may choose to use a psychiatrist to prescribe you a good anti-depressant medication that will take the edge off of the depression you feel over your profound loss.
It wonít fill the void that was left when your son was taken from this world, but it could help you to cope.
God may use a psychologist or other mental health agent to assist you in facing your loss with a renewed sense of courage and determination to find meaning, even in the midst of your suffering and to rise above the grief you feel, if only just a millimeter above it.
In addition, God may use family and close friends to sustain and support you through this overwhelmingly difficult and painful trial you find yourself engulfed by.
As a psychologist who is unabashedly Christ-centered in my approach, there are plenty of Bible verses I could offer to help you get through, like the one I offered above. King David used music and poetry to get through his grief.
Here is a favorite passage of mine:
The Twenty-third Psalm
"The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."
Iím sure, having grown up in a Christian home, that you are quite familiar with this passage. I would recommend that you read the book of Job and the Psalms, both found in the Old Testament. Itís not magic, by any means, and you shouldnít expect magic to come from simply reading and trying to apply these scripture passages.
And while I am offering you these scripturally-based words of comfort, I am also keenly aware that Bible verses and/or pat answers I cannot completely fill the hole that Iím sure exists deep within your heart, with your son dying so young and so tragically.
So I would suggest, in addition, that you fervently pray, that you pour all of your feelings into a journal, or into songs if you happen to write them or have an as-yet-un-awakened ability to do so.
Losing a child so tragically is a steep mountain to climb, and even with these resources to help guide you through the storm, there will be moments of despair.
The song Iíve offered above will let you know that sometimes haunting, plaguing, often painful questions are all we can lay before the feet of the lord.
May God be your source of strength, comfort and guidance and may his grace and deep love sustain you through your grief.
If youíre a musician in distress, or a
friend of one, email Dr BLT at email@example.com