This writing has been bubbling up in my mind for the last few days. In some sense this blog is simply a personal journal that may or may not have resonance with those who choose to read it, but writing is how I log my journey and is therapy for me. It was prompted by a friend’s Facebook post inviting readers to make a list of twelve music albums they had carried with them over the years. I have been listening to a select number of albums as a result since that day. It is a reminder for me of how deeply music resides in my heart and soul and the meaning, connection, and even sacredness it carries as it has become such a part of me.
To a large degree music is where I carry my memories. When I hear particular church hymns, some other religious songs, and tunes my mom comes to mind as I recall her singing while she worked around the house. Songs like He Touched Me, Silver Bells, You are My Sunshine, Tell me Why, and I Love You a Bushel and a Peck. When I hear those songs they transport me back to the kitchen and the image mom standing at the sink doing dishes or fixing a meal are as clear in my mind as if she were standing here in my kitchen this morning.
I would have to say though, to a large degree, the depth of meaning in music for me happened when my older brother Chris died as the result of an injury received in a football game when he was just a month shy of his sixteenth birthday. Chris had a stereo in his room, the only stereo so to speak, in the house. It was a stereo he had purchased from a friend of his; two speakers, a set of headphones, AM FM Tuner, and an 8Track player.
I still remember the last time I saw Chris the morning before his fatal injury. He was getting ready to leave for school and had turned off his stereo. I pleaded with him to leave it on and promised I would turn it off before I left. I, albeit I think reluctantly, he agreed to do so. I am pretty confident it came with a big brother threat for the little brother about entering his bedroom and promising again that I would turn it off. He left it on for me to listen before I left for school.
In the stereo that morning was the 8Track album, Yes, Fragile. I have that album on my ITunes now and every time one of those songs, particularly Roundabout, makes the shuffle rotation I am transported back to that morning and that moment, not in a sad kind of way, but just that moment of last contact and memory.
After Chris died, I do not think I did it consciously at the time, in hindsight I realize I immersed myself in his music. I believe it is how I coped with such a traumatic loss at such a young age. I can remember laying on his bed for hours with the headphones on listening to all of his music. His music selections filled that empty place his absence had created; Yes; Fragile, Chicago; Live at Carnegie Hall, The Grassroots, James Gang; Thirds, Bread, Rare Earth; Live in Concert, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Led Zeppelin; IV, Three Dog Night; Golden Biscuits, just to name a few. Every time songs from these albums and others wander through my ITunes selections or on the radio, I see his face, hear his voice, and cherish the memories I have.
I believe it is deeper than just personal memory and journey though, there is something deeply sacred and spiritual about music, and not just religiously themed music, but almost all music. Music is deeply a part of who we are as humans and I also believe deeply a part of creation and all creatures. There is something about music that speaks to the very depths of who and whose we are. Whether we are just thumping a rhythm on the desk with the eraser at the end of our pencil while we are thinking, or immersed in a full band and orchestra and everything in between, music is just who we are, and integral part of our makeup.
I am grateful for the music carrying the memories of so many in my life helping keep them alive in my heart forever. I am grateful for the musicians and artists who surround me so often with the music of who and whose I am. I pray music carries for you such depth of meaning and lights your way as you journey through all the ups and downs of life.
Just some pondering on a morning here in my chair surrounded by the light of the early sun, two faithful four legged companions, warmth, and at this moment, Bread; Everything I Own playing on my phone. Never be afraid of the memories of which music reminds your heart. Then, go sing your song for the world.
Peace and Light and Music for your Journey,