How Beethoven Brought Bursts of Joy in the Midst of Grief

Beethoven Brings Joy Amidst Grief at Rocking God's House

Writer Kevin Ott At Rocking Gods HouseMy mother passed away in 2010, and even though it was four years ago it still feels like it was just yesterday when we last talked on the phone.

Grief can be a confusing journey.

Lately I’ve been finding solace in the music of Beethoven.

A new moment of joy — a stab of bright joy in the dark night — struck me again while listening to Beethoven’s tremendous Symphony no. 9; but that sudden light didn’t begin to form until I read this from A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis:

But by praising [thinking of and describing the good qualities of the loved one who has passed away] I can still, in some degree, enjoy her, and already, in some degree, enjoy Him [God]…But perhaps I lack the gift. I see I’ve described H. as being like a sword. That’s true as far as it goes. But utterly inadequate by itself, and misleading. I ought to have balanced it. I ought to have said, ‘But also like a garden. Like a nest of gardens, wall within wall, hedge within hedge, more secret, more full of fragrant and fertile life, the further you entered.’

And then, of her, and of every created thing I praise, I should say, ‘In some way, in its unique way, like Him who made it.’

Thus up from the garden to the Gardener, from the sword to the Smith. To the life-giving Life and Beauty that makes beautiful.

‘She is in God’s hands.’ That gains a new energy when I think of her as a sword. Perhaps the earthly life I shared with her was only a part of the tempering. Now perhaps He grasps the hilt; weighs the new weapon; makes lightnings with it in the air. ‘A right Jerusalem blade.’

–C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, pp. 62-63

And as I mentioned in a previous post [referring to this post at], the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 has this joyous swoop of the melody where the strings (and later the winds) suddenly leap into the air like a kite shooting up on a gust of wind after lying dormant on the ground. The joy conquers me every time I hear it, and…

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