When Music Hurts

Do you consider yourself to be an assertive person ? Being assertive means that we are confident in speaking up for our rights and needs, without trampling on the rights and needs of others.

I am usually assertive, but the following situation rendered me as passive as a mouse.

The little church where I was very happy , had no musical instruments except human voices, which God considers to be the most sacred of all instruments.

Our voices blended together beautifully, showing our unity in the Lord, until the day a gentleman in the church decided that we needed an organ. He purchased one at a garage sale for only twenty dollars ! It was a bargain, because the volume control was broken, and thus it made only very loud sounds. The ‘music man’ also decided to become our organist, although he could not read music, but had memorized a few hymns that he thought would suffice.

The first time the new musician played the organ I knew I was in trouble. It was loud !

I discreetly pulled my decibel meter, which is an app. on my telephone, from my purse , and found that the volume was at 78 decibels. ( hearing damage can occur at 80 decibels). I thought of leaving the church, but didn’t want to disrupt others. So I took out my custom made Bernafon hearing protectors, and put those in my ears, but the loudness was still irritating. Finally, in desperation , I leaned over the pew in front of me and covered my ears.

Mr. Music Man also played in a key that was too high for the singers, and thus our beautiful happy praises stopped.

If I had been assertive, I would have told our musician that the broken organ was irritating. I could also have gently , but firmly expressed my concern to the pastor.

Instead, I left the church.

The Lord is happy when we volunteer at our local churches, but he asks that we consider carefully if we are qualified for the positions we choose to fill.

I wish that I had spoken up, instead of leaving the little church. The musician continues to play the broken organ.

13 thoughts on “When Music Hurts

  1. Sounds like regret that you did not assert yourself. Where was your church leadership? This can happen in all types of organizations not only churches, there must be a method to save the group from a disruptive situation. You seem calm and capable of speaking to your church leadership about addressing the problem

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  2. Being assertive to me is not a negative attitude as long as rudeness didn’t come in. It is important especially in a situation where it is needed to prevent serious harm as in the case of church organ. I’m calm but assertive. It’s always good to see nicely talk to the right person who can understand and take action.

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  3. One of the ways the Lord has taught me to deal with and approach sensitive matters is by addressing them when there’s calm. This means that if I were in your situation, I would approach the pastor with this matter at a time outside of the normal worship time, to gently express my concerns. This way, I don’t go with irritation being at the forefront of the conversation. It’s NOT too late, especially if it’s a place that you really love. You may just be the voice that the Lord wants to use to speak up for others who may be silently suffering.

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  4. Maybe someone else will address the issue.
    Years ago my husband and I took our daughter to a concert by her favorite singer. We were front row, center! It was so loud, our daughter sat on her dad’s lap with his hands over her ears, and cried. She refused to move back. In the middle of the show we bought some earplugs at a product table. (The fact that they were selling them told me they knew they were too loud at least for some people.) I cringed when I saw some teens standing in front of the very large speakers, looking pained but clearly not wanting to move away and be “uncool.”
    Afterwards I wrote a letter to the manager, expressing my concern that the volume was a distraction from the impressive talent and profound lyrics of the songs. (Not to mention causing hearing loss.) (Jesus healed deafness, He didn’t cause it.) A few days later I received a letter apologizing, promising they would be more careful in the future, and giving me a free CD of the artist’s latest album.

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    1. It is great that you spoke up about the volume. I can appreciate your daughter’s discomfort at the loud volume. We all need to be concerned about loud music, and how teens have been conditioned to think that loud is “cool”. Studies are showing an increase in hearing loss in dramatic rates in young people as young as in Grade 8. Yes, Jesus healed deafness, he didn’t cause it. 🤗

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      1. Sally my Friend! I agree with this blog and all the information contained therein, as well as all of these gracious comments. Our modern highly technological man-made world of instant gratification, shock and awe, commercialized entertainment is not about doing the most good for the most people but really the opposite. “Buyer beware,” was a big one I got growing up and so many today are not doing that, but instead following a herd mentality that leads them off a proverbial cliff into danger or even ruin. I actually know people that lost a large percentage of their hearing from attending heavy metal rock concerts being with the “Cool,” in crowd; that ended up getting them nowhere in the end.
        I think this actually serving as a great literal example of what many of us humans get caught up in dovetails with something I wrote as an inspired comment to another friend’s blog which cuts to the chase of what’s wrong with much human activity in the social realm.
        🙏 ❤ This is what all heart’s desire; to be filled with everlasting peace and love, yet all men are incapable of providing such to anyone, not even one’s self. Therefore, seek the eternal through God the Creator; who is all absolute love and peace!
        “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
        ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
        “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
        It’s getting more obvious to me as I’m sure it is to you as we grow older, that we all come up short changed or even broke if we depend on mere temporary earthly contentment’s or pleasures to fill us; virtually an impossible fool’s errand. But, with a caveat I say we should always try to make the best of what we have and be eternally grateful just for that, indeed our next breath is a miraculous gift; and then seek Him the Divine and Everlasting to satisfy our every dream and need in His kingdom to come! I’m sure I’ll see you there as long as I keep trying my best, that’s all He expects of any of us! Amen. 🙏 ❤

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      2. Hi Lawrence !
        Thanks for your wise comments. Yes, for sure, those who seek to be ‘cool’, end up playing the ‘fool’. Yes, for sure, God helps us all. When we are trying our best, he gives us the necessary grace to rise above the messages that ‘the world’ is constantly sending us. Nice to hear from you. 🤗

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      3. 🤗 So good to HEAR FROM YOU! Can’t agree with you more as everything you said here is perfect and wisdom! God, I love that, “those who seek to be ‘cool’, end up playing the ‘fool’.” Never heard it put that succinctly and it just says it like it is! That’s the ticket Sally; we all need more Grace, lots more!!! 🤗

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  5. I think you have to follow your heart and do what’s best for you. I’ve found that being assertive, no matter how calm, no matter how adult, no matter how objective, can still be interpreted as aggression. Especially by people with low self esteem. Then they go on the defensive and the attack and nothing is gained. Perhaps your intuition told you the best thing to do in this particular situation was to leave. Keep your peace. Don’t second guess your actions ❤

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I totally agree. People who are used to being passive, will often interpret assertiveness with aggression. And, here in rural Newfoundland, where generations of fishermen and their families were conditioned to be passive by a few powerful merchants who bought their fish, passive behaviour , unfortunately , is the norm. Thanks for confirming that the best thing I could have done was to keep the peace. 🤗

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