Music helping me get through rehab


The Primitive Quartet sings at Sand Spring Baptist Church on Sept. 21.

Music reminds to focus on God, live in harmony

By John Herndon,

One thing about recovering from surgery is that that you have wayyyyyy too much time to fill. The good thing about that, for me, at least, is that I have been able to choose how I fill that time.

I had knee revision surgery on Oct. 1 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. I spent the night there, came home and have been rehabbing that right knee vigorously since. I ditched my walker on Saturday and have been amazed at how the process is unfolding. I hope to be back full strength very soon.

God is sure good! Even in those times when my knee is screaming!


Michael Combs at Renfro Valley in August.

But I’ve been away from KentuckySings a bit longer as I was trying to get everything in order with my job as sports editor of The Anderson News. It took awhile, but I think we had everything covered as much as possible.

Back to rehab and how it ties to music, especially gospel music.

If you have ever had a total knee replacement — this amounted to my second — chances are your rehab consisted of lengthy times on your back with your leg in different positions that eventually would make you the lead in a choir of screamers.

However, I learned that listening to music was a trick that took my mind off the pain, especially during those times when I had about 6 weeks, make that 6 minutes, left in the task at hand. So with my first replacement, I got my fill of The Oak Ridge Boys, The Whites, Ricky Skaggs, Triumphant and The Isaacs.


Chris Golden sings at Renfro Valley in June.

Since last Monday, that group has come through again, as have The Primitive Quartet, Brian Free and Assurance, Michael Combs, Chris Golden and others. Just focusing on the words praising God just seems to alleviate the going through my knee and leg for a brief spell.

It worked for me, but I’m making no medical claims. However two thoughts did enter my mind.

First was the idea that focusing more on God takes us away from the world, even if it’s the lyrics to a song. Yes, the physical pain was still there. I didn’t just hop out of my bed and walk after focusing on the lyrics. But thinking about God’s goodness through times of physical pain helps get me through.

In the nuances of everyday life, we face so much pain, much of it emotional or spiritual. We fight through broken relationships, loss of jobs, or just the plain meanness of a fallen world. The answer, I firmly believe, lies in the words of that old chorus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace.

The other idea is really not new, but something we all need to be reminded of daily: Harmony.

I can’t tell you when I fell in love with Southern Gospel music. It was probably one of those things ingrained in my being before I was old enough to know where was anything different. My mother took me to every “gospel singing” around and watching the Gospel Singing Jubilee was just part of our Sunday morning routine before heading to church.

And by the time I was a teenager, gospel music’s influence was unmistakable, though I did not realize it at the time. I loved Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, but was also drawn to popular groups like The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers and Three Dog Night.

Those groups had distinct sounds, but those sounds were rooted in, you guessed it, harmony.


The Booth Brothers sing with great harmony but preach living in harmony with God’s Word.

Today, when listening to Southern Gospel, I’m amazed at the blending of voices when I hear The Isaacs or The Booth Brothers. That harmony can come in many different sounds, but no music is more beautiful than several voices coming together as one.

In The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Gospel Journey” DVD, Duane Allen, in an interview with Bill Gaither, says something to the effect of “if there is something better than singing in harmony, it’s living in harmony.”

It’s not an exact quote but pretty close considering it was from memory. Contrast that statement with the chaos we increasingly see in the world we live in.

Over the last few weeks, I was appalled at the mob-rule behavior of some groups during the confirmation process of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Just last night, I saw a video clip of Antifa demonstrators chasing down a man who refused to comply with their demands and drove on. News reports of innocent people being murdered at concerts, church or school are now common.

They are the most visible expressions of what Satan is sowing in our country, but check your Facebook timeline. Chances are you will see some form of venom popping up, even if you make an effort to not join in the discord.

I firmly believe that Satan knows as long as he can make the world sound like a discordant instrument, he’s winning.

The harmony of great music can remind us that God is the ultimate winner. Living in harmony with Him and our fellow man is the most effective tool we have to combat what Satan sows.


The Whites singing at The Grand Ole Opry, Sept. 22, 2017. (All photos by John Herndon)


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