The Struggle Has Ended

Greg Hewlett passed away on January 17th after nearly eight years of battling colon cancer. While we grieve his loss, we are comforted to know that he is with his Lord.

If you would like to leave your thoughts on Greg, please see this thread.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Greg's honor, please see this thread.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Getting by with a little music from my friends

I have always felt so fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends with such musical talent. I grew up going to bed listening to my mother play piano through the walls. My sister Julie grew into quite a pianist continuing to study performance into her adult years. And Susan's voice can calm a soul as turbulant as mine.

My roommate at Rice gave me informal guitar and mandolin lessons, as did a close friend from MIT, Kohichi Tamura. One of the favorite memories of my life was living in a house as a student in Boston with a collection of roommates from Berklee school of music, Boston Univ classical music program, and New England Conservatory. I wish I had recordings of those ad-hoc jazz sessions resonating throughout that 200-year old wood house.

CDcover-150x150.jpgOur friend from Rice, Judy Wu, who has been a help to me from her job as physician assistant at MD Anderson, just released her first CD. We just missed the relase party last weekend here in Houston. Yesterday, she stopped by with the CD to my outpatient room while I was receiving chemo. You can listen to some of it (and order it) here.

And my friend Nils Jonsson, whom you have heard about in past posts, has a few unpublished recordings of music he has written and performed at his church. Two of my favorites are a jazz tune, Can't Believe You Love Me, Too and a sacred praise chorus, I Believe. One evening while I was in the hospital recovering from surgery, Nils came to visit and wheeled me down into the atrium, where he played these and other tunes on the grand piano as I and several other random people whose lives were entangled with cancer listened. It was one of those good memories sprinked among the darker ones.

It may be a tired saying that music can reach deeper than mere words, but I don't know how else to put it. The Bible speaks of young David playing for his king, Saul: "Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."

These friends have made me feel better. And these days, I need this more than usual.


Jim and Coco said...

Thanks for the comforting thoughts about the soothing comfort that comes from music. In the day to day rush we too often forget that GOD made the world burst forth through song and that the first notes were the heavenly notes.
You are and will be in our prayers.
I bet your dad still CAN'T carry a tune...:-)

anne and michael said...

And don't forget the lives you have touched with your musical gifts. Melina and Sarabeth always look forward to your guitar playing in the ad hoc Christmas pageant, your serenading us and writing songs during blizzards, and the jam session we had in Dallas this summer. In fact they are so inspired that right now they have decided to begin mandolin lessons. There is a nice old Italian man who lives in our town with a corny sense of humor that has agreed to teach them together. He conducts a mandolin orchestra in Bloomfield. We look forward when the three of you can begin a trio. (as long as you are patient of course!)

Nils said...

Yes, as Araceli and I sat at The Vintage Bar listening to Judy play I thought, ”Greg would love to have been here.”

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing with us how much music touches your soul. Beautiful music in all forms brings comfort and encouragement just when we need it most. Hearing about Judy's CD is inspiring to me. That is something that I have always wanted to do. Maybe I could get you to accompany me on your guitar!

Judy K said...

I'm so glad that all different kinds of music blesses your soul. You bless my soul, too. Thanks for making the effort to share your feelings with your friends.

Madeleine said...

What a heartening message about how having music and musicians in your life has ministered to you. As one who teaches music for a living, it was especially encouraging and inspiring to me to read about the power that these skills have had in your life. Praise God that we (created in His image) have been given the capacity to make, appreciate, and be fulfilled by music. The choir prayed for you this evening regarding your surgery.
Love to you and Christine,