I have a friend who wound up in a wheelchair after he broke his neck in a bicycle accident. He nearly died, so we’re all grateful that God kept him here. Still, it’s a gross understatement to say that his (and his wife’s) life changed radically. Sometimes in ways you wouldn’t even think about.
For instance, reading. My friend has trouble using his arms and legs, right? So why is reading a problem? Well, because it’s hard for him to hold a book. It’s hard for him to keep his neck in position. It’s hard for him to turn pages. And for my friend, this is a Big Deal and huge loss because reading had a major role in his life.
But there have been surprising gifts, too. My friend says that God has given him heightened enjoyment of music. Music had never been a particular hobby of his before. But since the accident, it moves him deeply. It’s become a significant source of joy in his life.
One day my friend and another man were talking about songs they liked. They spent hours together “trading” songs. They took turns sharing favorite songs and what they liked about them.
Moved by how meaningful the experience was for him, my friend had an inspiration. He started “collecting” songs from his friends. He asks his friends to share a song that is meaningful to them for whatever reason. He then loads it onto his iPod. Whenever he listens to that song, he thinks of his friend and prays for him or her.
I was their house the other day. He played several songs for his wife and me—a wide variety including country (which ordinarily he dislikes, but he loves listening to “She Loves Me Like Jesus Does” because it reminds his friend). His play list includes hymns, rap, rock, Christmas songs, worship choruses, classical pieces, and more—40 songs in all. He listens to at least one song a day, using that song as a prompt to pray for the person who shared it.
Before I left on Sunday, he coaxed a song out of me. I have no clue how he will pray this song, because the words are in Latin and the tune comes from Mozart’s rather bombastic Requiem. But as we talked about songs that we both love, that one bubbled up. So now when he hears it, he assures me that he will be praying for me. And I am grateful.