Dec 20 2013 - 07:00 PM
Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
The pursuit of music OR medicine was the choice facing Eric Littleton in his early 20’s.
The pursuit of music AND medicine began in his 30’s.
The realization that they could, and in fact should coexist began with his first studio session four days prior to Sept 11, 2001. From the first notes of the song “Last Date” it was clear that music was simply a different form of medicine that could easily share a path with his family medicine practice. Eric has enjoyed piano music as a new music student at age 6, as a high school football player, as a medical student and through residency; but it had up to then been a hobby, an outlet, an occasional way to enjoy a friend’s celebration of a wedding or to demonstrate the sadness and mourning of a funeral.
As time passed, the power of music on the soul became unmistakable. Its impact is unique to each individual soul. Everyone has some music, some song, some lullaby that will pierce to the core while another will swaddle like the softest blanket. As a person will visit his physician for diagnosis and treatment of a physical illness, he can often heal the burden of his soul through music. Music heard with the soul can stir most any emotion; all simply resulting from the unique experiences of love, loss, dreams, gains, defeats and the unavoidable events of life.
As a physician interacting with over 60,000 individual patient visits over the past 20 years, Dr. Littleton has seen firsthand so many of those experiences and the way patients react to them. Be it the thrill of a new life to be born or the harsh reality of a cancer diagnosis it seems that we seek the simple answer: What is this symptom from? What is the diagnosis? What is the treatment? What do I do now? What do I tell my family? Why did this happen? It is the unknown that will cause the mightiest fears when a simple answer, even if not desired, will initiate the journey to a place of resolution, even if it means life is now defined as months, not years.
These are the emotions that fuel Dr. Littleton’s music. His piano style is not complex, nor is it intended to be, for again, most things in life are more easily enjoyed if simple – a beach, a hike, a quiet dinner, a conversation, a smile, or a sunset. It is this straightforward approach from his own spiritual walk and medical practice that he tries to capture within each song, hymn, lullaby or original piece. It is his goal to take an arrangement that is simple and hope, in some way, to make it profound to the soul who is listening; for each soul has its own joys, fears, memories, hopes and hidden pain. It is his purpose that the music, and especially the hymns, will remind each listener that we are not our own, nor are we alone. As Psalms 46:10 reminds us, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Dr. Littleton is originally from Harriman, Tennessee and continues to practice Family Medicine in Sevierville, Tennessee. His education background includes graduation from Tennessee Technological University, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Center for Health Sciences, and Floyd Family Practice Residency in Rome, Georgia. He lives with his wife, Julie, son Caleb, and two yellow labs, Hobbes and Louise.
“As water is the the earth, so music is to the soul,
Sometimes it cleanses,
Sometimes it floods,
Sometimes dilutes the harmful,
Sometimes flows the blood.
Perpetual existence, from obscure to enjoyed,
Yet in its absence, nothing fills its void.”
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