A Story about Music

A Story about Music, let me tell you a story

One of the wonderful surprises about art is how the forms reach out and speak to those who have no official knowledge or learning about the art form itself.

You don’t have to be a painter to love a painting. And while it is almost certain that if I had some experience as a painter, my appreciation of the art would be widened, my lack of knowledge or skill in painting does not disqualify me from experiencing an encounter with a work of art that touches me deep inside.

The same is true for great writing, for poetry, for sculpture and street art.

And for music.

Everyone in my family loves music, but we are not accomplished musicians.

The end of the year is always marked by Taido’s collecting his favorite music from the year into compilations which he gifts to his friends. Our sons have joined in this tradition and now make their own versions of the year’s best.

I have made precious few playlists or compilations in my time and there is little need when there are five other family members vying for air time on our living room speakers, but every once in a while I find myself putting together a mix tape of my own.

Over ten years ago, I made one to hand out on my 30th birthday. I loved going through the process of choosing songs to represent themes from my life at that moment in time. When I hear it, I recall all the reasons I chose those songs. So many of the words still speak to me and I still love all those songs.

And it occurs to me that while Taido and Cole love to discover what is new in music, for the most part I return to the same music again and again. And I wonder if my kids will remember the few songs I loved in life. As my kids get older, will they look around for me when a certain hymn is sung in church? I still turn my head to find my Grandmother as soon as I hear Great Is Thy Faithfulness, though she is no longer there.

Don’t you love how a familiar song can transport you back to a moment or season of your life? Recently I asked people on Facebook to share their first concert experience with me and immediately the question filled with responses, because you don’t have to go searching for the memory of your first concert. It stays right with you. You know the place, the year  and maybe even the smells.

It’s not an exaggeration that music brings light to the world. Or at least to my world. I cannot count the number of times a song has worked its spell on me until I am so moved by it that I am either dancing or crying. Just this week I had an encounter with And Can It Be that sent me digging in my purse for my hankie.

If I had to choose just one theme song that I have returned to again and again, I think it would be a modern day hymn of Andrew Peterson’s. I go searching for it when I need to hear it again. (Now, thank goodness for YouTube, we can always quickly hear a song we’ve misplaced.)

My favorite line:
Every breath is a mercy.

Before I ever heard those words sung, I was trying to live them in my own life.

To live as though every day, every hour, every ray of sunshine or blade of grass, every breath is a gift of mercy. The undeserved grace of another day, one to which I am not entitled but that I am given.

Who knows what it will hold? Only the One who gives it to me.

I was so thrilled when I first heard this song. I felt that it had been written just for me. That may seem like a pretty self-absorbed assumption since this song was actually written as a hymn to praise God, but for me, it has been been, to use a phrase from the lyrics, “a balm upon this journey.”

It was a strange relief to happen upon a song that declares so articulately what is in my heart.

May my life always be marked by these words.

Serve Hymm

Words and music by Andrew Peterson

High this mountain, broad this sea
Still, my sin ran deeper
Grave offense my soul did wreak
Against creation’s keeper
But see what power so fell and fair
Has stayed His holy justice
God Himself all Hell did bear
How great His love for us is

(chorus)
So serve Him, O serve Him
He who brings the morning
O serve Him, Only serve Him
He who brings the morning

Ev’ry hour is a precious boon
Ev’ry breath is a mercy
Ev’ry glimpse of yonder moon
A balm upon this journey
How vast the heavens above this place
So small beneath His glory
Still He stooped and showed His face
And poured His mercy o’er me

Jesus, our Messiah King
For those who don’t deserve Him
Conquered death all life to bring
So seek His face and serve Him
O serve Him

Sing, O sing
Praise His name forever

Oh, praise Him
Oh, praise Him
Praise His name forever

Do you have a personal theme song? Does it change from year to year? Or does it stay the same?

Bonus: My 40 playlist, songs I’ve loved over the last few years.

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.