Music is the shorthand of emotion. (Leo Tolstoy)
I was driving through the Fair Oaks and California Blvd. intersection yesterday leaving the grocery when a familiar song came on the radio. “Get it Shawty” (I’m such a white girl when I say this out loud) was playing and it immediately moved me to a memory- to the Jay County Fair grounds with my cousins (more specifically my cousin Travis), listening and white-girl dancing to this song in a completely carefree moment.
And the memory of it as I drove home got me thinking about the relationship music has to life. I think we can all recognize ways in which moments, chapters, and phases of our lives are captured and represented through the music that takes us through them. Music is emotion, mood, relationship, experience. And it’s freeing. Music moves us. To emotion and action. To a state of being.
Phases…My childhood soundtrack is defined by 90’s Christian music which is why I continue to love it even now. Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Steve Camp, Carmen, Ray Boltz, 4Him, The Imperials, etc. I know, I know. A lot of you are probably thinking, “who?” “him?”. But for me, back then, and much to my husband’s dismay, nothing was better.
High School is a bit of a blur. I bounced all over the board. Country, Hip Hop, Rap, Rock. I couldn’t make up my mind as I couldn’t make out who I was half the time. I do, however, recall a “That Thing You Do” CD and a particular green and purple “Shout to the Lord” Hillsongs CD that was the soundtrack to majority of my sophomore year (does anyone remember this?!).
College is when the mix’s began. Lots and lots of mixes. My college soundtrack consisted of mixes heavily influenced by Shane and Shane, Mercy Me, Jason Mraz, the Goo Goo Dolls, and Kelly. Sweet Kelly Clarkson.
But the chapters and the moments are just as important. Chapters…shorter periods of time when music pulls you through. Like my sister, Hillary’s cancer ordeal (Watermark: The Purest Place). And whenever I hear Matt Wertz, I think of my first year of marriage. And then the moments. The right song, at the right time, with the right people. The tune, lyrics, even the beat can hit you and you’re overwhelmingly affected. It connects to your current emotional state, a relationship, a memory of someone or something. It’s powerful and it takes you- to tears, laughing, dancing, singing, silence, etc. It’s incredible.
I have HUNDREDS of specific (music) moments. A “Glory, Glory” moment standing on my chair at Camp Mack. Or “500 Miles” on top of my CAR in the Leo parking lot. “Give Thanks” at my grandpa May’s funeral. “Ancient of Days” with a chorale of people at CDYC. Dancing in the family room at home to “Big Ball Turnin” (Imperials). “Your Love is Extravagent” alone on top of a Colorado mountain. The entire Kelly Clarkson CD throughout almost every powerful moment of my senior year of college. ;) Singing “Hold Onto Every Moment” in the car with the ‘Ritz’ girls during college graduation week. Almost throwing up, but still loving the moment of “Sweet Emotion” on the Aerosmith roller coaster at Disney. And scream-singing “Don’t Look Back in Anger” at the Oasis concert this year- just the experience of being united with such a huge group of people who love the same song. Incredible.
There’s more room to expound to be sure. But I’ll end it here and simply express my thankfulness for the blessing of music and the fact that my life is able to have a soundtrack.