I got emotionally involved in a performance the other day. That’s not unusual. I like a good performance, whether it’s acting, singing, playing an instrument or even doing a magic trick. But some performances are more impacting and memorable than others. I am sure you have had a similar experience. I wonder if you reacted as I did? And how was that?
There is one emotional reaction that has always fascinated me. It’s the one that makes your hair on the back of neck stand up and gives you goose bumps up and down your arms. Scientists have labeled this condition piloerection. What is curious about this emotional response is that humans experience it when exposed to two entirely different situations: either one of extreme fear or one of extreme joy or emotional connection. It’s the latter circumstance that fascinates me because there doesn’t have to be any physical association with the cause factor.
Think about it. When was the last time you joyfully got goose bumps or the hair on the back of your neck stood up? It may have been a poignant moment in a movie you were watching or a book you were reading. Or, was it at a wedding ceremony you were attending, or while watching your child’s performance in a school play? There is no other human sensation like it.
So, where am I going with all this? Well actually, I’m going to Carrie Underwood. Hold on—I’ll get you there, too, but I have to make one other point and that is, I am not a religious person. I was not raised in a religious household; I did not attend a church or a synagogue. Some folks, I know, are very uncomfortable with people who have no formal religion.
Never having adhered to a formal religious structure, however, does not mean I do not have beliefs. Trust me, I have beliefs, many of which are sermonized all the time. I believe in the golden rule. I believe in honestly and fairness. I believe in respect for others, caring about people and the world I live in. Okay, you get all that.
So what happens to someone like me when they become involved in something “religious?” Well, for the most part, I just try my best to go along with it—remember, I said I believe in respect for others. Of course, I may not have any spiritual involvement when I’m in a religious environment, but that does not mean I may not have an emotional one. Religious music is a case in point. It’s like any kind of music to me. If it’s good music it stands on its own. I do attempt to understand and relate to the lyrics of any song I hear, but I don’t have to personally believe in the message to enjoy listening to it.
All right, I promised you I’d bring us all to Carrie Underwood. As I said at the beginning, I happened upon a performance last week (the YouTube link is below) in which Carrie Underwood sang a song alongside another country singer, Vince Gil. The title of the song is “How Great Thou Art” …yep, a pretty religious number. Many in the audience were on their feet applauding long before the song was over. The religious aspects of the song, I am sure, enhanced their involvement and enjoyment. I got the song’s testimonial, but for me, all that was necessary was Carrie Underwood and Vince Gil. Indeed, that is all it took to give me goose bumps and make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And, who knows…maybe you’ll see me in church next Sunday.