“What Are You Listening To?” – Chris Stapleton

Relationships are hard.

If you have not made peace with the truth of that statement, I’m sorry about the life events or intentional denials in your future. Even in healthy and whole, when you involve humans, things grow exponentially harder. There is nothing that can complicate all of the things about humanity more than a self-imposed need to be responsible for another’s…everything. Look. I’ve been working on co-dependency in therapy for more than 2 decades. I’ve made some good strides. But with the big bad WHY change of my motivation, I’ve had to choose to love. And that’s pointed out some really bad habits. When I’m honest, it’s the truth of many relationships that are no longer. As a word of confession and humility:

1. I’m slow.

2. It takes great pain for me to face reality.

3. I’m so bad at this. Still. Like today.

I’m not even going down all the roads on this, but what I hope that this post and this song…no, this moment…can transcend is whatever the now of us – you (reader) and me – if we have ever shared music, I miss you. If a song defines a season of our lives together, you are held in holy space in my life. If when I flip on the radio I can be transported to a time and place and see your face, I want you to know that I smile.

Sharing music is sacred. There is a vulnerability in the story you are sharing that cannot always be put in spoken words. So when that happens, you stick. A piece of my story is defined in that melody, and so many of these moments are imprinted in the healing that has come about in 2022. All the while, the music of the memories has been the soundtrack.

The songs that I have not heard in 30 years that are now remixed.

The ones that I wanted to feel from the first moment I heard them, but I knew I wasn’t “supposed” to.

The rock song that I tried to turn into a dramatic Jesus moment on youth Sunday and it flopped. But I just smile when I hear it.

The one that takes me into the heart of the hurt. All the way.

What Are You Listening To?

Walking into the truth of a song alongside someone redefines our human trust. Try it. Just close your eyes and let a song take you there. I’ve done that so much this year. And in the process, I have learned to let those connections to even the most complicated of treasured musical moments float right to the surface. While I smile.

I miss the top hits of days gone by. But I also know which songs need to stay off the comeback pile. And it’s so good to have the breadth to invite all of the mess, of every song, into my big reconstructed life. I’m committed to intention, not empty emoting. With each memory, I’m trying to make sense of the depth of old pain and dream lost dreams again. Songs are an invitation to, even if for just 3.5 minutes, sit with all of my truth.

And the #1 thing that has come from me learning to let go of the old rules is that I get to love you more. You. The best friend from junior high or the teenager that made me crazy or even the ones that broke my heart. More love. That’s what a melody gives me.

With each memory.

And gut check.

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