Music has always been an important part of my life. I remember from my earliest days lying in my bedroom at night with the radio on. I guess that I’ve always treated music as a means of escape. Escape from the fears I had, from the loneliness I felt, and from my life which I hated so much. It was a way to leave all of those things behind and join the world of the living.
I’m not real picky about my music and have pretty much loved all genres. Except for Rap. To me, that’s just not music, but I won’t dwell on that. I was lucky to live my teen years during the 60’s when music was magic. There were real words with real meanings to the songs. Dick Clark and American Bandstand was a favorite, of course. My first concert was James Brown (boy, was that something). To this day, I still love the 60’s music and can absolutely lose myself in it. When country music first started to become popular, I was not impressed at all, but have since come to love it. The only problem with country music is that it seems as though every country song is written about me and about my life. How’d these songwriters get to know about my life? And gospel music — oh, how I love gospel music! I can sit for hours and listen to the Statler Brothers sing some good old gospel music!
Have you ever wondered who you’d choose if someone told you that you were about to die and you could listen to just one last hour of music, but it could only be one artist singing to you? I would almost have to put pieces of paper with the names of my favorites in a hat and draw one name from it; I don’t think I could choose just one. There would be pieces of paper with the names of Frank Sinatra, Del Shannon, Billy Joe Royal, the Supremes, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, the Beatles, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Lionel Richie, the cast from Grease (they would have to count as one, right?), Brooks and Dunn, Uncle Julian and the Mora Choir, Reba McEntire, Jennifer Nettles, Freddie Fender, Bob Marley, Casting Crowns, Matthew West, and of course the Statler Brothers. I’d be praying for my chosen slip of paper to have the Statler Brothers written on it, but would be satisfied with any of the rest. If I could have my druthers, while “whoever” was singing, Kid Rock and Blake Shelton could just stand in the corner so I could look at them. And I know he doesn’t sing, but let’s throw Sam Elliott into that corner. Oh my gosh, I could die a happy woman for sure!
The little country church we attended when I first married was probably my first introduction to upbeat gospel music. I had grown up in the First United Methodist Church as a child and loved the old hymns, and still do love them, but they have always seemed to be so structured, so calm, and they reached deep down into my heart. I still prefer the old hymns when I feel the need to be centered. When we first started attending Mora Missionary Baptist Church way down in south Georgia, it was a real awakening for me. We had a young man who played the piano and I swear he could make magic happen with those keys. I had never seen anyone play the piano like he did. And our choir director was a special kind of man. He had the most beautiful voice and he could get you fired up for sure. I get kind of tickled when I think of saying “our choir”. Keep in mind, this was a small country church, something I had never experienced before. There was a lady in the choir who was such a hoot! She’d be up there singing and see someone come in the door and right in the middle of the song, she’d yell a great big welcome to them. It would take all I had not to laugh out loud when she’d do that. And I remember once when the choir (which probably consisted of 15 people on a really good Sunday) began a song and for some reason, it just wasn’t working. After singing for a minute or so, Uncle Julian (choir director) said, “Oh, my goodness, y’all need to stop this. This is terrible. Let’s try something else.” And on to another song they went. I always wondered what God thought that morning. I have to believe that even He recognized that they were murdering that song and was glad when they gave it up. I think my favorite song at Mora was “I’ll Fly Away”. I can close my eyes now and hear them singing and can see Uncle Julian standing at the corner of the piano with his hand waving to the beat. That’s a precious memory to me.
About a year and a half ago, I remember talking to my daughter on the phone one Sunday afternoon and telling her what a hard time I was having. I had just begun going back to church regularly and I was struggling. It was so hard for me to be back in the church — so many memories would fill my mind and it was torture for me. My daughter asked me if I listened to contemporary Christian music and I had to admit that at that point, I really had not explored that genre. She told me to go onto YouTube and find “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns and to play it over and over again until I got it in my thick head that I was worthy. What a sweet thing for a daughter to say to a mother! That afternoon began my love for comtemporary Christian music. I have always been able to spend hours on YouTube so it sounded like a good idea. I spent the rest of that day and night listening to hundreds of songs. Her choice of song was excellent, I must say. However, while searching through YouTube that night, I came upon a song that seemed to jump out of my computer screen and smack me right across the face. This was another one of those times when I was positive that the songwriter had written it just for me. I still listen to this song quite frequently. I wonder, though, if these songs don’t spark a bit of sadness in me. I know they are supposed to be uplifting, but they just don’t always work. If you haven’t heard “The Broken Girl” by Matthew West, check it out. It’s all about me. Is it about you, too?
THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS: I have mixed emotions about today’s post. In a way, it’s good to remember the good times but those thoughts always morph into the sad times. I will be so happy when that doesn’t happen any longer.
TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER: Didn’t sleep much last night so kind of draggy this morning. That’s probably what got me thinking about the old days. A bit sad today.