Sunday, September 28, 2008

Soundtracks of our lives

A few days ago I discovered Kind of neat to be able to put together your own preferred playlist of music.

The first song I looked for was "Africa" by Toto. There's something about the yearning in that song that always grips me.

When I found it, I said to myself, "Well! This is pretty good!" So I added "Africa" to my playlist . . . and left to get on with work.

Then this morning I was listening to my "Placid Music" station on, when I heard "The Child in Us" by Enigma.

Oh! Talk about yearning! . . .

That song, along with several other Enigma tunes, always brings me back to the time, several years ago, when I was writing up notes on Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. --It was the music I happened to be listening to at the time. I didn't have access to Pandora nor to an MP3 player, so (poor me! ha ha.) . . . I was listening to CDs on my three-CD changer. But I was able to listen to the same three albums for two or three days in a row before I got sick of them. So, it seems, Enigma's first two albums were staples during that period of my life, and I am always reminded of the melancholy of A Farewell to Arms whenever I hear those songs from Enigma.

So this morning I heard "The Child in Us" and got thinking: what other Enigma songs would I like to hear more frequently on Pandora? I did some searching and found several--which I added to my Pandora playlist.

Meanwhile, realizing that I have no real control over what which songs I hear when on Pandora, I got thinking again about So I visited and began adding Enigma songs to my playlist!

But then I got thinking. How much am I revealing about myself simply by the choices of music I make? Should I "hide" who I am by adding a bunch of music choices that I wouldn't have made right off the top? For example, Toto and Enigma are not Christian groups. And, in fact, especially when you get into Enigma . . . it's just . . . different from what most people listen to.

And then the next group I looked for: Moody Blues.

Boy! I used to listen to them all the time when I was in high school. . . .

Maybe it was while I was bumping through their songs on that I began to question what I was doing. Not because of my personal choices. But because of what it might reveal about me. and

There was that yearning again. The sadness. The desire for "something more." Indeed, I'd say, something holy and more.

The song that inspired me to write this post is "Watching and Waiting":
Watching and waiting
For a friend to play with.
Why have I been alone so long?
Mole he is burrowing
His way to the sunlight,
He knows there's someone there so strong.

'Cos here there's lots of room for doing
The things you've always been denied.
So look and gather all you want to,
There's no one here to stop you trying.

Soon you will see me
'Cos I'll be all around you
But where I come from I can't tell.

Don't be alarmed
By my fields and my forests
They're here for only you to share.

'Cos here there's lots of room for doing
The things you've always been denied.
So look and gather all you want to,
There's no one here to stop you trying.

Watching and waiting
For someone to understand me.
I hope it won't be very long.

Again, it's not Christian. And there are some rather weird aspects to the song. (Who is speaking, for example, at different points?) But . . . (and I used to think about this in high school) . . . isn't there some kind of holiness to that yearning . . . something that might pull someone toward God?

I wonder about that today, too.

Oh, yes! There is something holy and beautiful and satisfying about Twila Paris' thoughtful Christian songs (I'm thinking of The Warrior is a Child at the moment . . . though, come to think of it, that's a pretty plaintive/yearning song, too, isn't it?) . . . or Michael W Smith's songs, too (thinking of Lord, Have Mercy--because I just heard it on Pandora).

But there is something really wonderful, too, about the "songs from the other side" where there is still the great unfulfilled yearning. I think. . . .
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