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OUT TO PASTOR: Who has been fiddling with my mind?

When it comes to music, I am an amateur in many regards.

I signed up for a violin class in first grade and took lessons. After about a month, the teacher met with my parents and begged them to pull me from that class.

He said, “Out of deep respect for music, this boy should not play the violin.”

I can’t think of anybody in my immediate family that plays any instrument or has any skill in music. I thought I would be the first one, but I wasn’t.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is a different story.

Many people on her side of the family are involved in music, and her father was a great piano player and could play the piano with no music set before him.

His daughter plays the piano, organ, flute, and harp. As long as I’ve been a pastor, she has played the piano in all our church services. She is very gifted along that line, and I’m so happy.

I confess that I am not musically inclined, and I am unanimous in that opinion.

It’s not that I don’t like music; I cannot replicate it with these vocal cords that God gave me.

Music is very relaxing for me, and even though I cannot sing, I can listen to music with great appreciation.

The one thing that bugs me, is early in the morning, whether it’s television or radio, I hear a song and can’t get it out of my head. All day, that music buzzes in my head, and I can’t get it to stop.

We took a trip not long ago, and The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage drove her Sissy Van. For some reason a song got in my head, I can’t remember which one, but I heard it over and over again. I heard it so many times that I began to sing that song under my breath, which was not a very good thing to do.

As I got to singing, suddenly, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage pulled over, stopped her van, looked at me, and said, “Are you having some kind of spasm?” She looked very serious as she said it.

I looked at her seriously, having no idea what she was talking about.

“You’re not sick, are you?”

I began to understand her alarm, and I cautiously said, “I’m okay; I was just singing.”

“Oh my,” she said, “it sounded like you were on your last road trip to death.”

I don’t know where that came from. She then encouraged me not to hum or sing along the way.

I didn’t realize I was singing out loud. I thought it was just in my head. But being the kind of husband I am, I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the trip.

The only place I sing is in the shower because there’s nobody there, and nobody can hear me, and I can do my thing.

The other day as I was showering, I didn’t realize The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was within hearing distance.

As I got into my shower a song began to rumble in my head, and within a few seconds, I started singing – really enjoying every note.

Suddenly, I heard a rapid knock on the bathroom door and my wife saying, “Are you okay? You didn’t fall in the shower, did you? Do you need any help?”

At first, I couldn’t figure out what was happening when it dawned on me that I was singing and she was hearing.

Oh “No, my dear,” I said quite loudly, “I was just singing.”

I heard a profound sigh on the other side of the bathroom door, and heard her say, “Don’t scare me like that again.”

Music does have a way of controlling me. Some music makes me sad, and some makes me glad. The problem is music that’s in my head controls me in another way.

I go into a store, and they’re playing music, and I come out of that store with the music playing in my head, and I’m humming along the way. Driving home in my truck alone, I sing as loudly as possible, knowing nobody can hear me. But, of course, sometimes I forget to stop and walk into the house singing, and you can only guess the kind of trouble it presents to me.

If only I could remember to keep my thoughts especially those musical thoughts in my head and far away from my tongue I would have a happier life.

Thinking about this all little I was reminded of what King Solomon said in Proverbs 29:11, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”

That wise old man knew what he was talking about. I know there’s a time to speak – but there’s also a time to keep quiet. For me it’s a challenge to differentiate between the two. The quieter I am the less difficulties I encounter.

Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone is (352) 216-3025, e-mail is, and website is

Ellis County Press

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