Last night, I joined with many others of our Church, and other Churches (in total about 40 folk), to visit a hospital at the west end of Glasgow. The event was organised by the Chaplaincy Centre, and involved dividing into groups and going round various parts of the hospital to sing carols.
You need music of course, and two other groups had a guitar, or, in one lovely case, a set of hand-bells, whilst your’s-truly brought along a keyboard for our group.
The only problem was that the keyboard did not have a stand, and was mains-powered, so at each of the locations (generally in a passageway), we had to find some flat surface to place the keyboard, a chair, and a mains-socket.
As most people realise, all of the above are in short supply in such a situation, as you can’t ACTUALLY push someone out of bed to set the keyboard down, so sometimes it was on a trolley, and sometimes on my knees! Also, the risk of pulling-out some vital piece of life-saving equipment is always there so we had to do a lot of double-checking before getting power!
What came over to me was that there are a considerable number of people in hospital, all with their individual worries. It is something we only think about when we have to go into a hospital, or see a programme on TV.
In our general life we mostly see normal, reasonably-healthy people, and so it is easy to forget the pain, suffering, and anguish people and families are having to endure on a daily basis, and in an especially-poignant way, at this time of the year.
Does singing and music in general help in the healing process? Well, there is some evidence to show that people who sing regularly, and enjoy music, tend to have a happier disposition and a slightly-better average life. So maybe we did make a minute difference.
But it will be a long time before I will forget the look on some of those poor people. We obviously could say no more than platitudes…you sometimes just don’t know what to say.
Many of the serious cases may not make it past Christmas, but I suppose if we have raised a small smile of joy, or a glimpse of recognition of Christmasses gone past, then it will have achieved something.