Music Will Never DUMP You


by Linda Ratcliff

Last June, my husband was unexpectedly scheduled for open-heart surgery. But the morning of the expected surgery, the doctor met us in Mike's room and postponed the procedure. Last minute blood work revealed an infection that would have spread through his entire body during surgery. Since we had already planned (and paid for) a 4-week vacation, the doc told us to go ahead with the trip but not to let Mike exert himself. At all.

So, our children bought him a light-weight wheelchair that I could easily lift in and out of the car, and we took off.  I’d never pushed a wheelchair around before, but didn’t foresee any problems we couldn’t manage. Our first stop for the night was San Antonio, and we wanted to do the Riverwalk. So out came the wheelchair.

At the first corner from our parking spot, I saw a blue painted handicap ramp and thought, “Great, this is going to be easy-peasy.” I forged straight ahead, not noticing that I had to go down the sidewalk a short way, make a U-turn, and approach the handicap ramp from the side. Instead, we went over a curb, and down Mike went … out of the wheelchair and into the street. I had dumped him!  To make matters worse, when Mike finally made it to his feet, he tripped over the curb trying to get out of the street quickly, and fell flat on his face again on the sidewalk. A waiter in the nearby restaurant saw it all and rushed out to help but, by then, we were both pretty shaken.

Isn't that what life is like? Too often, we get dumped out of our comfort zone by unforeseen challenges … losing a job, a death, betrayal by a friend, bad news from the doc, an unexpected bill in the mail. But there’s one thing you can depend on. Music will never dump you.

If life has just handed you a lemon, make some lemonade and then listen to music. Upbeat music can make us feel happier and more confident. Slower music can help us to feel more calm or relaxed or maybe even help us to work through feelings of sadness and depression. Or make music yourself. Practicing your dulcimer can offer a sense of mastery and self-esteem, as well as have a positive effect on your emotional well-being, including improving mood, decreasing anxiety, and managing stress. Make music your go-to friend when you've had a bad day.  Play music when you clean.  Play music when you cook.  Play music if you're feeling anxious and play it when you're feeling happy. I promise, it will never disappoint.

Happy dulcimering,

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