When my client Lorena was going through her divorce, she said she played the piano every night "until there wasn't an ounce left in me." John went out on his boat and listened to Rachmaninoff.

Many of us turn to music when words are not enough, or there are no words. We listen to an opera, or play the piano and let the music do its magic. That's what today's article is about -- where do you turn when there's nowhere else to turn?


I’m currently revising my ebook, “Restitution: A Woman’s Work at Midlife,” and while researching on the Internet, I came across a college ad for a hymn sing. “Old-fashioned hymns” it said.

"We get hung up on the latest," the copy read, "the fastest, the best, the temporary -- but in the end, when all is said and done…"

In the end -- what do we fall back on? In the last analysis, where do we turn? What sustains us when we're alone in the dark? It would be the same things people relied on in ancient Greece, or in Europe in the Middle Ages. These things are time-tested, “tried and true.”

Now please take a look at this video of two girls singing the hymn, “It is Well with My Soul”</a“Dido’s Lament” sung by Jessye Norman.


The song the girls are singing is a hymn written by Horatio Spafford. In the 1870s, Spafford was a successful lawyer in Chicago. He and his wife had 4 daughters and a son and he was wealthy and expecting more, having invested heavily in Chicago real estate.

In 1871, his son died. Shortly thereafter, the Chicago fire wiped Spafford out financially. The family struggled, and by 1873, realizing that his family desperately needed a rest, Spafford planned a trip to Europe with his wife and 4 daughters.

He was forced at the last minute to postpone his own trip, so he sent his wife and 4 daughters on ahead on the S. S. Ville Du Havre, planning to join them in a few days.
On November 22, in the middle of the ocean, the ship was struck by the English ship Lochearn and sank in 12 minutes.

When the survivors finally made it to Cardiff, Wales, Mrs. Spofford cabled her husband these words: "Saved alone. What shall I do?"

When Horatio Spafford made the sorrowful journey across the ocean to join his wife, the captain called him to his quarters at the time they were passing over the place where the Ville had gone down. It was at this time, passing over the watery graves of his children, that he wrote the hymn, “It is Well, It is Well with My Soul."

Here is the first verse of the hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Here is a midi of the hymn.


It is natural for many of us to turn to music for solace. It begins with the lullaby.

"Music hath charms that soothe the savage breast" -- yes, that's the true rendering of that quote, not "beast" -- and our breasts become savage from other things besides anger.

Grief, sorrow, and the incomprehensibility of adversity can make us just as savage, as well as the accumulation of daily stressors.

Music began almost inextricably united with faith and "religion" and some of our best music comes from the church. And now for the most beautiful song ever written.

Working in emotional intelligence, I know how important music is to our mental and emotional health, so I started Club Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music. It’s fr** of course. Please visit the website and join. You’ll receive a weekly ezine, increase your understanding and enjoyment of music, and celebrate with like-minded individuals.

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc, mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc . Individual coaching in all areas, business coaching and EQ programs, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional development. Visit Club Vivo Per Lei,
http://www.susandunn.cc/vivoperlei.htm, and sign up. Email for fr** EQ ezine. Susan is the author of “RE(de)FINE YOURSELF”, instruction in how to smooth your rough edges and appear the person you are – refined, dignified, classy and self-confident.