The Music That Feeds Our Souls

by Kassandra Lamb

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  ~  Berthold Auerbach

All Saints Episcopal Church, San Francisco (photo by AJ Alfieri-Crispin CC-BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

(photo by AJ Alfieri-Crispin CC-BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia Commons)

I finally got around to uploading a post to my own website. It’s one I wrote last year for Catie Rhodes’ Author Celebrity Playlist series on her blog. But instead of doing my own playlist, I did one for my main character, Kate Huntington.

It includes the songs that were meaningful to Kate at various turning points in her life. (If you’re a Kate Huntington fan, check it out; it gives a lot of her back story.)

Posting that playlist got me thinking about music, and how so often it can speak to us in ways that mere words alone cannot. Somehow combining those words with a beautiful melody makes the message so much more powerful.

My favorite song of all time is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Teach Your Children. I first heard it in 1970, the year I graduated from high school. It spoke to me then, but it’s appeal has only increased through the years. I can now relate to the song from both the perspective of a grown child and that of a parent of a grown child.

Listen carefully to the lyrics:


“And feed them on your dreams, the one they picked…”

There is one dream that has survived for three generations in my family: to be a writer.

My mother was a public relations specialist for a college. She used words all the time in her job, writing press releases and college catalogs. But it had always been her dream to be a “real” writer. The closest she came were a couple rough drafts of children’s books and some travel articles she wrote in her retirement for a seniors’ magazine.

I spent the majority of my working life as a psychotherapist. It was a very satisfying career and I have no regrets. I wrote professional articles through the years. But the demands of my job and family left me little time or energy for creative writing. My second career was that of college professor. Again I found an outlet for my writing lust as I drafted lecture notes and developed tests, but still there never seemed to be much time left over.

Finally, at age 59, the novel that I’d started in my mid-forties came to fruition and was published (sadly, six years after my mother’s death). Now I have several published works to my name. I have been well fed by my mother’s dream, the one I picked.

My son has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a masters in divinity. His full-time job is that of Episcopal priest. Like I did before him, he can satisfy some of his desire for writing through his profession as he drafts his weekly sermons. But he also carves out what little time he can for writing fiction–fantasy novels with a strong spiritual component. I have no doubt that he will be published, hopefully some day soon.

My mother is dancing in heaven. We have fed her with our dreams, the one she picked.

And then there is the chorus:

Don’t you ever ask them why; if they told you, you would cry.
Just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.

I get a lump in my throat every time I read or hear those lyrics. I have learned through the years that there are things we may never understand about other generations, the ones that came before us nor the ones that follow us.

Don’t you ever ask them why; just know they love you!

What song speaks to your soul? Do you share a dream with other generations of your family?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

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  • Reply
    Lynn Kelley
    March 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    What a beautiful post, Kassandra. I, too, love this song. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have always been one of my favorite bands. I saw them in concert as a teen and also about ten years ago. My husband is a Crosby look-alike. Even as they’ve aged, he still looks like him!

    Many songs move me, and music is just plain uplifting to me, but I can’t think of a song that I can apply to my family and generations like you have. I can see how special Teach Your Children is to you, and it’s a shame your mother passed before you were published, but we know she’s sharing your joy in heaven. Best of luck to your son with his writing dream, too!

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    March 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks, Lynn. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Now that you mention it, your pics of hubby do look a lot like Crosby. Can he sing like him?

    • Reply
      March 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Wonderful post.. I agree!! Music has a window to the soul (and vise versa)…
      One-liner type philosophical sayings are the medium that carry the message best for me… “In youth we learn with age we understand”
      Again great post – powerful mesasge…

      • Reply
        Kassandra Lamb
        March 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm

        Thanks, Ralph. So many great lines in this song. One of my favorites: “And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears that your elders grew by.”

        Each generation is so affected by what is going on around them growing up. It shapes their world view. And yes, it often takes a bit of aging for us to truly understand.

  • Reply
    Rhonda Hopkins
    March 12, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Wonderful post, Kassandra. I love this song, too. Music really does touch the soul. 🙂

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks, Rhonda! It really does. Nice to see you here!

  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    March 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Love this, Kass! I’m so glad you got to fulfill your dreams. I’m fortunate enough to have my own mother still dancing on this earth and so supportive of my dream. 😉

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    March 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I’m so glad to know you can share the joy of achieving your dream with her, Kathy. My mom died in 2003. If she had lived just a little longer, until e-books came along, maybe she would have been able to get those children’s books published!

  • Reply
    Karen McFarland
    March 12, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    You know, I am impressed Kassandra that your mother went to college. That wasn’t the norm for that day and an expensive enterprise. I love music. Always have. And when I write, I hear music along with my character’s voice. It sets the mood or tone to the scene. You and I are not far apart in age. I was able to attend a Crosby, Stills and Nash concert several years ago. Yeah, they were missing Neil, but they sounded awesome. And hubby and I have been to see Neil a number of times. You know, “Old Man” and all that. Now as far as sharing a dream with a family member, uh, in a spiritual way, yes. Otherwise, no, I cannot say that I do. I was one of those people that had little ambition for a career. I loved kids and wanted to get married and have a family. Which is very archaic for the times we’re living in today. But back then, it was still an option or should I say acceptable. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started writing and found that I love it. I wish I had discovered writing earlier, but you never know. It just might have saved me from a mid-life crises or something else. lol. I’m rolling with the beat Kassandra. I dig music and your post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    March 12, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    You know, I ‘ve never seen them in concert, Karen. That’s just wrong, isn’t it?

    My mom actually finished college as a middle-aged adult at the same time that I was going to school. We both went to Johns Hopkins Evening College for the last half of our bachelors’ degrees, and we carpooled together. It was a great experience.

    And I know that writing was the answer to my mid-life crisis. It is so much fun!

  • Reply
    Debra Eve
    March 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Lovely post, Kassandra. I’m a huge CS&N fan and that’s one of my favorite songs too. I love that you and your mom went to college together. A song I’ve been returning to often is “Beautiful Day” by U2.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      March 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Beautiful Day is one of my favorites too, Debra. And my character Kate is a HUGE U2 fan!! 😉

      My mom and I were very good friends (once I got over myself after my teenage years). Going to school with her was a blast!

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