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Pause for thought - "Music will continue to work it's magic"

I’d like to tell you about Benny and Jack, two men in their 80s who I’ve got to know through my hospital chaplaincy.



Benny is an orthodox Jew like me, and Jack is from an Irish Catholic background. For the past month, they’ve had neighbouring beds in the ward of a rehab hospital. Benny’s leg is in plaster up to his thigh so he’s completely stranded, and yet he has a childlike cheeky grin and a cheerful spirit. Jack, on the other hand was up and about from the first visit, dressed in civvy clothes and restless.

“I’m ready to leave” he told me, “they’ve signed me off, but I’m still waiting for a flat to be ready. And I need to get out of here because I’ve got an album to promote”.
“An album to promote?” I asked.

And Jack proceeded to tell us he was Jack McCarthy, lead singer of the Irish band Dingle Spike, formed in the 70s. He was pretty famous and played to packed out concert halls. Well, I never thought becoming a hospital chaplain would get me up close to famous musicians. We headed to YouTube and found to his cover of Drift Away.


Before I knew it, Jack, Benny, a nurse and me were singing along. Yes, unbelievably, it turned out that Benny the orthodox Jew was also a 70’s music lover! Those lyrics, on reflection seemed somehow perfect for the occasion:

“Give me the beat, boys, and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock 'n' roll and drift away”.

It was a magical moment where we were bonded in the transcendence of the music, when hopefully Benny and Jack forgot for a few minutes that they were stuck in hospital.


The late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said:

“words are the language of the mind. Music is the language of the soul.”

And a lovely Post Script to this story is that Jack’s flat was finally ready on Friday, so he’s now home promoting his album “The Emigrants”. Jack, if you’re listening to this, I know your music will continue to work it’s magic far beyond the hospital walls. May God bless both Benny, and you.

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