“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” -Billy Joel
Music can be cathartic in the fact that it purges emotions from our being. It allows us to tap into the rhythm and lyrics, and transcend our current situations. Whether that transcendence takes us to a happy place, a dark place, or an encouraging place, it has a healing effect. It is not surprising, then, that certain songs stand out to us when we are going through major ups or downs in our life. I, like many of you I’m sure, have certain songs that helped get me through my cancer journey. I wanted to share them with you in hopes that if any of you are still going through hard times that they may come in handy for you as well.
The first couple of songs that encouraged me were from when my sister allowed me to borrow her iPod throughout my first couple of days in the hospital after being diagnosed. I was a little bit drugged out so the Beatles especially hit the spot in my loopy state:
-The Beatles, Black Bird: “Black Bird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly...take these sunken eyes and learn to see.”
-The Beatles, Across the Universe: “Nothing’s gonna change my world…Jai guru deva om (meaning: victory to God divine).” This song really encouraged me that even though I had been diagnosed with cancer, that nothing would change my world (for the worse), that I would still be my optimistic happy self, that I would not give this disease power over my bright soul and my sunny outlook.
The next few songs I would listen to from my own iPod on the way to the doctor’s office daily or while I was being pumped full of the chemo when I got to the doctor’s office.
-Matisiyahu, One Day: “Sometimes I lay, Under the moon, And thank God I'm breathing, Then I pray, Don't take me soon, Cause I'm here for a reason, Sometimes in my tears I drown, But I never let it get me down, So when negativity surrounds, I know some day it'll all turn around…One day, one day, one day…Keep on moving though the waters stay ragin’, In this maze you can lose your way, your way, it might drive you crazy but don’t let it phase you no way.” This song was one of the major ones that helped get me through, and the reasons are pretty self-explanatory in these lyrics.
-Lil Wayne, Drop the World: “I seen nights full of pain, days of the same, You keep the sunshine, save me the rain, I search but never find, hurt but never cry, I work and forever try, but I'm cursed so never mind, And it's worse but better times seem further and beyond, The top gets higher, the more that I climb, The spot gets smaller and I get bigger…Cause all this bullsh** just made me strong m**f**.” Obviously this is one of the darker, angrier songs, but at the time it was just what the doctor ordered, figuratively speaking of course. (; Warning if you are going to listen to it, it is explicit (a lot of curse words).
I definitely found comfort in a lot of Christian songs as well:
-Matthew West, More: “Just a face in the city, Just a tear on a crowded street, But you are one in a million, And you belong to me, And I want you to know, I'm not letting go, Even when you come undone. I love you more than the sun, than the stars, that I taught how to shine, you are mine, and you shine for me too.” ALL of the lyrics from this song are great but the quoted ones represent why this song means so much to me. When I was feeling extremely down about myself and the way that I looked, the fact that I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror, this song reminded me that God still loved me so unfathomably much and that he was always with me through every second of my trials and tribulations along with the triumphs.
-Tenth Avenue North, By Your Side: “Look at these hands at my side, They swallowed the grave on that night, When I drank the world's sin, So I could carry you in, And give you life, I want to give you life. And I'll be by your side wherever you fall, In the dead of night whenever you call, And please don't fight these hands that are holding you, My hands are holding you.” There were instances when I would fall, literally and figuratively, and many nights when I would be up in the darkness worrying, crying, praying, and He was always there listening and soothing me.
-JJ Heller, Your Hands: “I have unanswered prayers, I have trouble I wish wasn't there, And I have asked a thousand ways, That you would take my pain away, You would take my pain away. I am trying to understand, How to walk this weary land, Make straight the paths that crooked lie, Oh Lord, before these feet of mine, Oh Lord, before these feet of mine. When my world is shaking, heaven stands, When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands. I know you hate to see me cry, One day you will set all things right, Yeah, one day you will set all things right. Your hands that shaped the world, are holding me, they hold me still.”
-Amy Grant, Better than a Hallelujah: “The silence when the words won't come, Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes. We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody, Beautiful the mess we are, The honest cries of breaking hearts, Are better than a Hallelujah.” It is okay to break-down. It is okay that we cannot be strong all the time; we were not made this way. We are not perfect. We have our limits and God knows that. If we have anger or sorrow, he wants to hear it. He already knows what is in your heart, so be honest with the God of the universe and lay your troubles in their entirety on him. Our shoulders may not be able to hold the weight of our problems, but His are.
When accomplishment would come, especially after I was cured, these triumphant songs hit the spot:
-Nicki Manaj ft. Rhianna, Fly: “'Cause I am not a word, I am not a line, I am not a girl that can ever be defined, I am not fly, I am levitation, I represent an entire generation…Cry my eyes out for days upon days, Such a heavy burden placed upon me, But when you go hard your nay's become yay's… I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive, I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly, to fly.”
-Maino, All the Above: “On a mission to be, What I’m destine to be, Been through the pain and the sorrow, The struggle, it’s nothin’ but love…How in the h** would you stop me? Why in the world would you try? I go hard forever that’s just how I’m designed. That’s just how I was built, See the look in my eyes, You take everything from me, I’m still gon’ survive…Take a look, and you can tell that I’m destined for greatness”
These are just some of the many songs that helped me throughout my cancer journey. They all mean so much to me and I hope that you enjoyed reading them, and that they may be of some help to you as well. I would LOVE to hear your input and some songs that helped you throughout your journey. So let’s hear ‘em in the comments below!