The Soundtrack of my Life

I wish my life had a soundtrack.

It’s how you know something big is coming in a movie – the sappy, lovey-dovey music plays just before the first kiss. The tension slowly builds as the protagonist steels his nerves for battle – raising into a crescendo when the battle is won! I, on the other hand, was completely caught off guard during my first kiss! I wasn’t expecting it and there was no music as warning.

I wish my life had a soundtrack.

I wish the song from Chariots of Fire payed each time I was at the gym cheering me melodically on to run one more minute or lift ten more pounds. I wish that soft and somber music played when I was feeling lonely or sad. Music that allowed me to sit quietly and let the emotion swallow me for a time instead of pressing onward and avoiding whatever is bothering me. I want music to remind me of good times, important memories, difficult trials, successes, missed connections, love and loss.

As I type this I am listening to songs from my all time favorite band, Cool Hand Luke. I love complex, purposeful lyrics, and their ability to subtlely and patiently build to a climax. One of the songs, “Cinematic” reminds me of my first mission trip to Hungary. I used it during my presentation to the church after I returned to remind us all that successes and failures are not up to our efforts, but God’s will.

I remember listening to “One Time” on repeat as I finished my documentation after hours at my first real job – for which I felt woefully ill-prepared. I was a pediatric Occupational Therapist – responsible for the sensory, physical, mental, and academic development of my case load of children with disabilities. I typed to the beat of the music and sang the lyrics, “I can see for miles, you showed me that the mountain I’m climbing is not a mountain at all, but a gentle slope leading home.” It gave me strength to forge steadily onward in my job – and in life.

I remember describing to a friend in the car how I wanted to live my life. Free and unfettered, fully trusting in the Lord. I cued up the song “Friendly Jas” for her on my iPod and cried at the last few lines. They described my hopes, my philosophy of life, and my desire to share this journey with someone else. “Everything has changed, but our hope remains the same. And I want you to know that I’ll be here through a hundred years of rain. Together we run, to what we do not know, trusting on God who made tomorrow.” That’s how I wanted to live. It can still make me cry.

I recently had the immense privilege to meet Mark, lead singer of Cool Hand Luke through a mutual friend. It’s no secret; I was giddy. This guy, though we’d never met, had in one way walked with me in numerous trials and triumphs over the past decade of my life. The words, chords, and notes he wrote were a part of my story. It was a beautiful thing to shake his hand, encourage him for his focus on his craft, and say “Thank you, Mark, your music is very important to me. It is a huge part of the soundtrack of my life.”

My life has a soundtrack. And it’s more beautiful than I could have imagined.

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