Sing to the sick


16th December 2008


Some of us were at Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow, last night for a carol-singing event.We joined many others from the Cathedral, and other Churches (in total about 40 folk), for an event  organised by the Chaplaincy Centre, which involved dividing into groups and going round various parts of the hospital to sing carols.

You need music of course…… one groups had a guitar, and, in one lovely case, a set of hand-bells, whilst your’s-truly brought along David’s keyboard for our group.

p2130209Unfortunately the keyboard had no stand, and was mains-powered, so at each location (generally in a passageway near wards), we had to find some flat surface to place the keyboard, a chair, and a mains-socket.

As you will realise, all of the above are in short supply in such a situation. 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! And,  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 again 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 life we mostly see normal, reasonably-healthy people, and so it is easy to forget the pain, suffering, and anguish, which people and families have to endure on a daily basis, and in an especially-poignant way, at this time of the year.

Do singing and music in general help the healing process? 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 people. We obviously could say no more than platitudes…you sometimes just don’t know what to say.

Many of the serious cases may well not be home for Christmas, but if we have raised a small smile of joy, or a glimpse of recognition of Christmasses past, then we will have achieved something.

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