Melody and words have been a powerful influence in my life. As a little girl, I started recording my rambling ideas on a color-coded tape player before I could even read. Since then, writing and music have become a part of my daily life as a music therapist, songwriter and girl who can't keep from singing. A well asked question, a haunting melody--these can transform life from the mundane to the beautiful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting for a Good Beginning

The adventure continues as I use the book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die as the canvas to paint my musings about life. So for my second blog entry, I decide to browse through the book for something completely different. How about Icelandic rockers that sing in an invented language? Perfect. Sigur Ros’ Agaetis byrjun, the only album of theirs featured in the book. The title can be translated “A good beginning" which seems like a great place to venture for the second entry.

There are so many things that captivate me about this music, which some people either find really fascinating or just really weird. First of all the lyrics are sung partly in a made-up language many call “Hopelandic” and the guitarist in the band is known for using a cello bow on the electric guitar. Secondly, there are beautiful themes, soaring orchestrations, seemingly transcendent, that anchor the music. Some have said that when they listen to it, it feels intensely spiritual. Lastly, the music is usually slow moving and churning with no apparent hook so you aren’t tempted to sing ridiculous words for hours on end in your car. When I turn on this album, I find myself slowing down, lighting a candle, crawling into my bed with my journal and wanting to contemplate the deeper things in my life. It gives me the space to breathe. There is no way that I can rush through this music. I have to wait. Ah, patience.

The word patience stirs up so many things for me. At the sound of this word in conversation, I have been know to spontaneously burst into song (surprise surprise) with a rendition of Herbert the Snail from a favorite childhood album, The Music Machine. “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such in a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember that God is patient too. And think of all the times when others have to wait to you.” Such a simple song yet such a harder concept.

Recently, I have started doing Bikram Yoga, which I have to confess, sounded absolutely crazy the first time I heard about it. Do yoga moves in a room over 100 degrees, and sweat profusely for 90 minutes? Where can I sign up? Strangely, the slow process of doing each position, without rushing, stretching each muscle, forces my brain and body to slow down. As much as I want to run out of the room during Standing Tree Pose, I compel myself to stay in the room. And afterwards (having taken a long shower of course) I find myself less anxious and able to deal with what the day may bring. The heat, the letting go, and the slow stretching brings peace and strength.

These days, I find myself in a season of slow stretching and of waiting. There are moments of rest and times of peace but there are also times of general annoyance and me saying “Okay, I’ve got this lesson, can we move it along to the next part?”

We don’t like to wait do we? It feels like God sometimes speaks in His own made up language that we can’t understand at times when all we want is for Him to tell us what to do or what is coming next. He allows us to sit in our unanswered questions: Who will we marry? Will we have a family? Will our kids be okay? Should I take the job? Will our parents be okay? Yet, He gives us the ability to hear the large overarching themes in our lives that anchor us: He brings peace. He is forming our character. He compels us to stay in the room of our own life, to not give up. He is with us always. We draw close to Him and ask for His word to give us just enough light for the next step and the strength to continue to hope for what is around the bend. And that seems like a good beginning.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Take a Chance on Love

It is with careful steps that this bird walks onto the wire called the blogging world. Yes, I am the girl who signed up for a Twitter account (so that I could get a free burger from some place that was giving them away if you had an account) and has only tweeted one time. So, the one who never chirps on Twitter is now writing a blog! Brace yourself, I have no idea what is in store.

I was inspired by a book that I received one Christmas called 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die which includes reviews on all genres and decades of music from classical, jazz to rock. The tagline on the back of the book says “The Musical Adventure of a Lifetime” and that was really intriguing to me. What if I was to listen to albums from the book and then share whatever ideas or inspirations come forth from that?

So, here we go. I crack open the first page of the book and the first album entry: ABBA. What could be better for a Monday morning? I dust off the CD and start clicking through the songs to the hits “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Waterloo” and find myself wanting to have my own personal dance party complete with a hairbrush for a microphone.

What is it that I love about this music? Somehow when I listen to this, I find myself waking up inside, pushing aside my insecurities, and daring to be who I really want to be: vibrant, alive, courageous, and brave enough to have karaoke with my hair products. For 4 minutes and 4 seconds I can confidentially stand in the skin and identity of who Christ made me to be and sing “take a chance on me.” I want to be known for that—for wearing my heart on my sleeve no matter how messy or foolish that may seem. To love deeply.

Isn’t that our hearts’ desire? To be really seen, with all of our failings and fears, and to be accepted and loved anyway. In this season, I am learning to believe that, to really believe, that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ. There is no place too far that we can go. Fear does not have a hold on us. We are compelled to love by a love that purses us. God laces up his running shoes and runs to find us to remind us of who we really are and how much he loves us. Once he finds us, he wants to have a dance party to celebrate.

And ABBA will probably be on the stereo.