Do you know the feeling when a song you’ve sung along with forever suddenly becomes your new anthem, inspiring and igniting a flame inside? I do, and I have. Often. For as long as I can remember, music has been my favorite “tool” to sift through my emotions, in good times and bad.
Kenny Loggins, “This Is It” was my go-to song during the rough patches in high school as well as my celebratory, and uncertain, senior year. On occasion, Kenny and I still spend time together.
Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” soothed me through more than one angst (read: anger) filled break up in my youth, as did Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” (Thank you, Gloria, for putting to tune the break-up mantra of women everywhere.)
Post college and early in my career, it was U2. Bono, with his beautiful tenor voice, found a place in my heart that made it OK not to have found what I was looking for…not that I even knew what that was in my early 20’s, or late 20’s for that matter. Heck, I’m still figuring it out, which is likely why “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Streets Have No Name”, and “Running To Stand Still” continue to top my playlist.
For several years, when disease spread through my body and led me in and out of operating rooms, I regularly blared one of two songs as I drove to doctors’ offices: Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus Take The Wheel” or Christina Aguilera’s, “Fighter.” Both songs reminded me I was (and am) stronger than the sum of my parts.
Woven through my life during the last 3+ decades is, of course, “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks. I first heard it on a record player, my brother’s. Then, a cassette played on my boombox, followed by my Sony Walkman as I ran, my mp3 player and most often now, my phone. Its meaning changes with the stages of my life, as I wrote about when I cursed Budweiser last year.
Over the years, I can’t say I’ve proactively sought out these tunes, the songs that have become bookmarks in my life, but they’ve found me. Always, just when I needed them.
The other day, on the drive home, it happened again. I heard the introductory notes and knew the song in an instant. I turned up the radio. Alone, I sat at the long red light and began to sing along, as I’ve done many times before. But, something was different this time. As the sun gently made its decent behind the Rocky Mountains, the lyrics rose up and washed over me. I stopped singing and focused on the lyrics, not just the words, but their message. Unexpectedly, I heard new meaning in the familiar melody and felt fresh inspiration for this season of my life. The setting sun, the blank page, the words on my lips; it all came together in that moment to place a frame around this transition. I cranked the volume, rolled down the windows, and sang until my lungs might burst. (Sorry, fellow drivers.) In that moment, I embraced the blank page before me and to living with arms wide open; I am the author of my story and no one else can write it.
Sitting there, Natasha Beningfield sang– no spoke– to me, to my heart, and to the blank page before me. My next chapter is still unwritten. Wonderfully unwritten. But, I am picking up my pen to speak the words in my heart because I am not afraid. (OK, maybe just a little, but I’ll turn up the music a little louder.)
Are there any songs you turn to during times of change? Please share below, because I love discovering new music!
(Updated 11/4: So, what should appear in my inbox just two days after I wrote this post, but this writing challenge by The Daily Post at WordPress.com: “Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music.” For once in my life, I was a day (really, two) early rather than a day late!)