The Grateful Series: Sensational Sounds

IMG_3254

(Photo of me Spring 1998 playing an outdoor festival in Charlotte, NC)

Acts 2: 1-2…The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The description of sounds heard runs throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation. In both Old and New Testaments, the writers describe the noises they experienced, dreamed, or had been told. None more dramatic than the Day of Pentecost as the second chapter of Acts opens. The Spirit of God filling the room like the sound of a violent wind and entering the bodies of the Apostles.

Our sense of hearing greatly helps to define the moments we experience. Writer, Milan Kundera, wrote this wonderful description…”The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness.” Perfectly true, yes?

In Part 4 of this series of expressing gratitude to our Father for these senses, here are 9 of my favorite sounds in life.

1. I’m a drummer. To be exact, I’m a mostly self-taught rock drummer from age 10 until present. I’ve performed thousands of songs on all kinds of stages through the years, and I’ve done so in my own original style. One of my favorite sounds is truly hard to explain unless you lived inside me, but it’s the sound my drums make when I’m fully caught up in a song to the point it becomes like an out-of-body experience. The rest of the band and the vocals are still there, but I’m driving this temporary creation on pure rhythmic instinct, and it’s nothing short of its own miracle. Like I’m inside the song itself looking out, and I’m listening to what’s being made at the very same time it is being created. It’s beautiful to experience. It doesn’t always go like that, and in fact most times, you’re just doing your job and playing drums. The picture of me above? I was inside the song.

2. The sound of Autumn leaves crunching under my shoes as I’m hiking or walking on a crisp Fall day. I love to play in leaves. When my dad would make my brother and me rake them when we were kids it didn’t seem like a bad chore at all. The entire spectrum of senses and emotions that Autumn engages in our souls always find a warm welcome from me.

3. My daughters laughing. Especially when they were toddlers through elementary, but even now as they’ve grown. That sound. It has to be the closest thing a Father can experience that comes close to the pure sounds of heaven. I would never cease trying to come up with ways trying to make them laugh just so I could hear it again.

4. This one is oddly specific…the sound of chatter mixed with clinking knives, forks and spoons, at the Cupboard Restaurant on South Blvd in Charlotte, NC circa the 1970’s. My dad would take me there for breakfast or lunch often because his office was nearby. I have no idea why, but I couldn’t get enough of that background white noise while we ate. To this day I still think about it when I’m eating at some establishment, and try to hear what I used to hear back then. For reasons that only a professional therapist could bring to surface, those sounds were a great comfort.

5. Waves crashing on a beach when the sound is isolated to the point it’s all you hear. That’s a pretty difficult situation to ever come about, because there are always other sounds mixing in with the waves crashing. When I was just barely 18 years old I was living in our family beach house in South Carolina. This was 1984. Wild growth hadn’t yet overtaken the area, and though our home was across the street from the beach, nothing stood between the structure and the ocean on the other side. The house is on stilts, but my dad had an apartment built ground level as I began college at Coastal Carolina University. By late Fall, the beach population dwindled to few, so late at night as I was falling asleep, all I’d hear were those waves a hundred yards or so from my head crashing. Pure magic.

6. The sound of a woodpecker going to town on some tree deep in the woods. It’s a mystery to me why I love to hear that, but I do, and I got to experience that on a hike last October. I was plowing along shuffling my feet through the leaves as I mentioned above, and I heard that distinct knock. It took me a bit to find that beak beating fella, but I finally did. I just sat and listened happily.

7. The sound of rain pinging off a distinguished umbrella with personality, as I stroll a path or city sidewalk. In those times I laugh in my head and say, “Yes, dad, you’re right. I really don’t have the sense to even know to come out of the rain.” I will gladly put on a raincoat, grab my red and green tartan umbrella, and take a walk through a steady, yet friendly, soaking rain.

8. The jet-like whoosh of a massive stadium filled with people when the home team does something great. It’s a magnificent sound. That initial roar as it builds to deafening levels. I’m a big fan of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. One of my favorite moments in life was in January 2016 hosting the NFC Championship Game in Charlotte. I was there, along with my older brother, my dad, and my stepmom. It was a frigid evening game against the Arizona Cardinals for the right to go to the Super Bowl. We won. Big. It was fantastic. I heard this sound repeatedly for 3 hours.

9. The sound of a favorite or cherished song(s) coming on at just the perfect moment. This happened to me again today before writing this latest list. I was in our pool with my family here on Memorial Day 2019 in Florida, and floating on one of the high quality new floats my wife and I purchased. They’re super comfortable and perfect for catching some sun. My phone was synced up with the blue tooth speaker I have out there, and right when I was totally relaxed (rare thing) and enjoying the moment, a trifecta of great songs came on back to back to back. “California Stars,” by Wilco, followed by, “Last Song I’ll Ever Write,” by Jason Isbell, followed by, “When You’re Done,” by Lucero. Dude. What a treat 🙂

Gary Abernathy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s