“Time After Time” – P!nk

It was 1983. Cyndi was the wildest thing that this punk rock wanna’ be could dream of. Madonna was the gold standard, but she was…Madonna. There was no low-key covering the crazy. I just wanted a little. No one seemed to turn off 104.1 when “Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun” played. I cannot say the same for “Like a Virgin.” She was all this precious neon jelly shoe wearing 3rd grader could dream of. And her hair…legend. I say all of that to give the appropriate honor to the original. But today…

You knew it was coming. And I assure you this is not the last. We will discuss the finer points of my love affair with P!nk in a few, but for now, we focus on one of my favorite artists of all time singing a song that soothes and irritates.

P!nk is notorious for amazing covers. And if she could sing all her songs and all of her covers at every show, I sure would appreciate it. This one will always be one of my favorites because it just sings to the depths of the human hurt…my hurt. When I hear it, I can simultaneously hear Cyndi and P!nk. I hear the wonder of an 8 year-old curious girl and the rasp of my jaded adulthood. It’s a picture of the whole. And that’s a really important part of this week. We have to bring all of ourselves if we are going to honor the quiet. ALL. OF. IT.

I am not quiet. My laugh is loud. My animated voice has been shushed more times than I can count. “You have a big personality” is one of the most common descriptions. I know. And when I’m honest, I’ve always known it on a defining level. I’ve always fought it. For all of the many reasons, there has always been a part of my internal work that intentionally quieted myself to better fit into the world. Actually, all the worlds. Because of this, I have resisted quiet in ways that have been damaging. I hate being shushed. There is an internal fury that dances up my spine when I feel like someone is publicly calling for a smaller version of me. This resistance has prevented me from enjoying some of the wonders of life.

As I have allowed the memories of 3rd grade Lacy and her love for 80’s punk to be revisited, I’ve realized I really like that girl. AND! I have the opportunity to hang out with her anytime I want. All it takes is intentional invitation. For me, this year, that invitation has happened in the reconnection of music. This song brings the best of the old and the best of the new right out in the melodic open. That invitation has been a life raft.

A week of quiet? Yep. There has been a lot of it this year. Some by choice and some that I was forced to sit with. While some of the songs this week may not seem “quiet,” you should know that every single one of these songs has transformed my insides in the still moments of 2022. In my tendency to blast through stories and sporting events and life, I have realized I have missed out. Forgive the woo woo again, but this is really important. When I don’t have enough intentionally slow quiet moments, my nervous system cannot keep up. When I don’t process the “big” moments in the quiet, the fight and loud has no way to exit. It hangs on my skin like a thin layer of weight. And the end result is anxiety. Which only makes being quiet harder.

Some of these songs are hard. Some are gut wrenching. These are the lay on the floor, cry until you throw up, want to run away from the pain kind of songs. Some will be obvious. Some will be confusing. That’s quite true about the quiet for me. Things come to the surface that I really don’t like. But so do some really fun things. And strength. The quiet has been my training ground this year. If there was a 5K in quiet, I would totally be in. Some of my quiet has come with intentional purpose. But much of my most important work has come in the times when I had to stand alone. When the safety nets that have always been there were not. When the person I needed was not available. When I just didn’t have words. And for a words person, being unable to articulate the thoughts in your head is not enjoyable. It’s not healthy.

Quiet. Really it’s just about going inside. A place that I have avoided in some seasons and shushed in others. Well. The beauty of the quiet today is that I like the girl I’ve found. All of her. The 3rd grader, the P!nk fan, the tender mess and the too much. This week is just a peek into some of the sweetest lessons yet. Quiet is the new glitter.

“You Have Me” – Gungor


I was. It was early Fall and I was over it. My downloaded music on my phone had pulled a nasty trick for the last time. It was that day that I began an aggressive attack on all music that made me think of things that were no longer. I was so proud. The very few “religious” songs that I left had a general spiritual width that felt safe. This was one of them. Along with one or two from John Mark McMillian and a couple from Jon Foreman, this was the trinity of the palatable.

In what I can only assume is a universal moment of humor, I was preparing to get to work and I hit shuffle. This was the first song. Of all the thousands of songs on all of my playlists, this came on the speaker. I was innocently sitting at my dining room table trying to work. Work never began. I started to change the song. I wasn’t in the mood to process. I let the chords hang. I heard the banjo. I felt the warmth of the vocals. Luckily, I left the song on long enough for the cello. Because if you have followed along this far, you know…the bass.

Here’s what happened. I just let him sing to me. The words that I have sung and played and prayed over and over just…well, they were different. Here is how I explained the experience in a text to a like minded fellow traveler.

“I’m just sitting here singing this over myself. You know we are enough, right? For ourselves? I don’t believe it most of the time. But I know it.

It was in that moment that a significant shift took place. For years I have sung “you have me…” over and over with the meditative draw to an external divinity. In that moment, in my house, on a random afternoon, I KNEW that the one that I needed to have me was me. That’s it. And I’ve had myself all along. I’ve had enough of the hard to be tender. I’ve had enough of the pain to be sensitive. I’ve had enough joy to know deep sorrow. And in the midst of it all, I could trust that I had all I needed.

So, I sat with that. With the very truth that I have fought in the 3am wrestling matches of my soul. And I sang those words to myself.

“You have me…you have me…you have my heart completely….”

I do today. And I still listen to this song. Not often. It’s not a go to. But it is a reminder that sometimes the depth of my knowing shifts into new spaces. And there will always be times when I think I have the purpose and meaning figured out, only to be surprised. With a new level of wonderful hope. In myself.

“My Church” – Maren Morris

Well. You knew we would meet here eventually. What does a human that has spent 45 years embedded in church do when its…gone? Well. Let’s just say some habits die really hard. I still have this weird off-ness on Sunday mornings. Not missing. Not even longing. Just weird. I find myself confident in what I don’t want today, but questioning if there is any part of the rituals and traditions that I want to keep. Let’s just say, much like country music, it’s complicated.

One thing is for sure, if you have been raised with something as central to life as the church was for me, and you take it away, you will find things to fill the hole. This is not a judgment. This is just truth. You cannot pull a life so deeply rooted in one soil out, and not replant it. In something. It will die. That’s just science. Once I made peace with that reality, I quit fighting the replanting process. Because ohhh, its a process. The day that I decided that guilt and hyper-responsibility would not lead in my life, the ‘should’s’ had to go. And that included the many that I say to myself daily – especially about the ways that I should feel about the church.

In my current work, I interact with many churches on weddings, funerals and special events. I have been invited to church at almost every church in town. I know about the women’s events. I hear about the things. From all the people. That’s just small town life. Here’s the twist. Not a single person in town knows what my last 20 years have been like. There is nothing about the life that I lead today that would make anyone think that I have been anything but a stay at home mom from Houston. It’s sooooo weird. But the genius is that I get to be the outsider that sees how the churches work. Like a real person. Not from the inside. And it has only confirmed things for me.

“What church do you go to?” That’s a question that I was not ready to be stumped by. The guilt that comes with it is nasty. And so revealing. Because it’s not just about me. “I don’t go to church” out of my lips is also me not wanting something that is clearly important to you. I really long to get out of the way today. I just don’t want to hurt or influence or even speak in these situations. After sitting with the discomfort, I asked myself if this was a relationship issue or a being lazy on Sunday morning issue. And it was all relationship. It’s over.

This finality freed me to be planted in new guilt-free churches this year, and the one that Maren teaches us about is a favorite. There is not one thing like an open road and a good song. On a hard day, I drive out the narrow two lane road into the Texas Hill Country. If JoDee had flipped another quarter, she would have come to the Hill Country. And turned up that music. I can worship from my soul along FM1431. All the angst and grit and fight and tears. There is a Sonic on the way out of town and with a good Coke and a loaded playlist, I can find my way out…and back. The more I’ve thought about what I need in a spiritual experience today, that about sums it up. A full service travel agency or an open road.

See you at church, Chris and Jimmie.

“Down Home” – Jimmie Allen

One morning this Spring I was out for a walk and I was exploring the “new” of country music. I found a few artists that I enjoyed, but I had a much harder time with the sound. I guess that I just have a type. Shocking. Just when I wasn’t looking, in walked Jimmie. Hello, cowboy.

Our introduction was inevitable because of this single. Whatever listening devices are active in my life would have matched up country and missing Dadddy right to this song. Eventually. If I’m here for the new country, I am here for Jimmie. He has enough ‘today’ to have a new sound but the dance-ability and shoot to the heart lyrics that a 90’s girl loves.

I didn’t believe that it was true. People told me it would happen. And it did. The second year is not easier, but it is certainly less raw. As a whole. But there are really sad, mad, missing kind of days. Like the day that I heard this song for the first time on a tender sunrise morning. I cried. And cried some more. But then I listened again and again. And now, I just love it. And sometimes, I still get teary. Like maybe right now…

I’ve probably listened to it 30 times in the last few weeks as I have worked on this project. Here’s my view of Dad in this song …making new friends, a pond full of fish, holding nothing but the best kind of hope – shining a light up there with that big ol’ smile. Thanks for this, Jimmie. Most of the details don’t quite fit, yet they do. (Side note…Dad, Mom is now making fake food and I keep plants alive. These are important new aspects to our world.) This song is such an accurate picture of lighter grief. And I’m so thankful for it. That’s another part of excavation. We don’t just excavate the hard. We also excavate our happy and the joy and the party if we seem to be missing those in our heavy. Excavation is for all things.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there are not still really hard days. Even great days are heavier with grief on board. The morning of National Signing Day, I dropped my kiddo off for a flight and we celebrated the official end to a part of the journey that Dad did not get to see through to the end. He was one of her greatest cheerleader, and has been a part of this process in many ways. As I pulled away from the airport, for the first time in months, I started to dial his number.

He’s still on my favorites list. I can’t quite hit delete. And on that morning, I just wanted to hear him jovially answer the phone – no hello, no good morning – “How’s my butterfly?” Dad would have loved the monarch jokes. And I smile and cry as I type. The memories today are so fun. I love that we can tell stories and laugh today. I love that the searing pain is dulling and I get to smile more. Time is a gift. Even when I hate it. Thank you, Jimmie for helping me with the words and melody.

“Comin’ Back” – Citizen Cope

If there has ever been a moment in life when you grab your keys, slam the door, walk out of the house and need the perfect song to help you clear your head, today is the day. Excavation is a bitch. If you weren’t tired enough from the digging, the raw-ness of finding the mummified scraps of lost hope and buried dreams can wear on even the strongest badass. And for lovers of bass, it’s time that you meet my new friend, Citizen Cope. Don’t listen to this on a bad speaker. Don’t.

I have rage songs. The ones that just meet my energy and prepare for my fist to swing at the air if my target is missing. But this is different – a determined, righteous, lip pursing, head bobbing soul stiller. This song is a very, very accurate image of the most internal metamorphosis this year. There are songs (and people and places) that transform the fighter to the rhythm seeker. It’s songs like this that have carried me.

Pain is so weird. It hides in colons and joints and even skin. It manifests as migraines and knife life pain in trapped scar tissue. I’ve spent four decades marching right past the warning signs in my body and have gone directly for protect mode. I fought. For everything. If you spend your life as a fighter, the day that your body wants to quit fighting and start dancing is one of the scariest parts of excavation. Learning to sit with all of the discomfort has allowed me to find a new groove. A very intentional choice to listen to things like my arms. I know…so woo woo.

A few weeks ago, I was PISSED. It was an Eminem kind of angry. For days, I carried the weight of the main event wrestling match that I wanted to headline in the name of resolution. When I tell you that I could literally feel my anger in my arms and hands, there is no exaggeration. Bizarre. And totally cool…for those of us that have never experienced the awareness of this connection.

I hate when I walk into a therapy session fully loaded. There is no way I can tell all the stories and process the chaos in 50 minutes. Because of this, my therapist has taught me that the stories are less important than the way my body is hearing and feeling and triggered by the stories. In our 3rd year of working together, I have finally begun to trust this theory. Because I come from a world where if you don’t know all the details…all the gory ones…you are lying to yourself and others. I find myself in a debate about my own gut level honesty on the daily.

This is a defining shift. Big time. Life changing.

A lack of “complete” and “total” honesty has always been one of my big fears. One that I believed could disrupt my faith, my life, my relationships. But there is a very clear difference between dragging someone through your story for the sake of morbid oversharing, and the honest ability to reflect and learn from an experience – without exposing the private moments. Here’s my reasoning…someone who really wants growth and new discoveries, from the moments of pain, is not afraid of the mess. But they also get that it has very little to do with the minutia.

I’ve learned that my therapist will stop my narrative mid-story if I’m bogged in the details. She will tell me that’s she doesn’t need to know. And I look at her every single time like, ‘Isn’t that the point?!?’

Take, for instance, the recent need to punch someone. We started processing the impact of the anger on my week and the details of how I got so angry were less important. Actually, the details are life. They happened three weeks ago and will happen again tomorrow and next year. The players may be different. The impacted old wound might change. But ultimately, it’s the same endgame.

The big pain and big joy are life. It’s how I know I’m not dead.

But…then it’s shifted. In a very “Comin’ Back” kind of way, I literally screamed at the Zoom camera therapy session. Because the angst in my gut was the same. My furry was so justified. I was ready to tell my intended target just how much I needed them to get right. Now. But this was different. I didn’t want to yell, and I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to dance. I wanted Alexa to turn on Citizen Cope (and a few others you have not heard yet) and let my arms move in a way that was not a punch. And the magic of the dance? It was without rules. When you fight, the rules require a defeat. When you dance, embracing the rhythm of the music as it stirs your insides is the victory.

So as you read these words, know that I’m dancing with a love for this bass line that I can’t explain. I didn’t have to fight to let it go. I’ve learned that I can get most of my wiggles out with a good rhythm. And should I still need to fight, I’ll be well rested. 2023 is going to include as much dancing as my body wants. I’m already dreaming about the disco ball that will be in my house in the next year. Watch. I’m comin’ back.

“Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins

I was a 6th grader when Tom and the boys first played beach volleyball on the big screen. That really explains so much of my next few years. Of all of the movies I watched in my coming of age years, there were few that felt as dangerous as Top Gun. Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan were badasses. Give me Iceman…any.freaking.day. Anthony Edwards stole my heart as Goose and made me a loyal Mark Green fan forever. And I tolerated Maverick. (I’m sorry…he has just never been my thing. I’m going to call that discernment at the wise old age of 11.)

I knew it was coming. How could you live in America in the spring of 2022 and not know? Oh, Maverick. So I did what all good moms do, I took the kids. To say that I loved the movie is an understatement. I cried too many times to count. But what I’ve come to realize in the months that have passed is that watching that movie on the big screen, with all the genius throwbacks to the original, took me back to a place that I need more of.

If it has been a minute since you heard this song, stop. Seriously. Listen. And when I say listen, I mean from your motorcycle riding, aviator glasses wearing, permed hair loving soul. As this song was reintroduced to my insides, the excavation had a new cellar to explore. What was this untamed need to risk? To risk in ways that I knew could hurt me? To risk things that I have always been told we’re irresponsible? To have less caution and more questions. My insides needed to risk being wrong for the sake of the adventure.

The world that I have lived in has never invited untamed risk. Especially if said risk could produce a harmful outcome or cause my heart to hurt. Excavation has taught me that risk is the magic. When my heart flutters and my hands get a little shaky, I listen now. I spent many years turning that feeling off in the name of holiness. If you have seen the musical the Book of Mormon, I could literally “Turn it Off.” Along with anything that I decided could lead my thoughts or actions astray. And excavation has brought me to a new world.

Kenny. Damn. Loggins.

I’ve literally pointed my fighter jet toward things that my insides (even as I type these words) have long since covered in caution tape and a flight response. I’ve done it all because I wanted to feel. FEEL. Even if that meant that the feeling I was about to examine was hurt or pain or even heartbreak. And I’ve had them all. I’ve sat with some of the most unwanted discomfort because I made choices to risk this year. I have stretched into new friendships, new experiences and new roles. And in that process I’ve risked too much sometimes. AND THAT IS OK!

What a freeing moment it is to move from a life of intentional avoidance to one of non-judgmental curiosity. Even in the danger zones.

I didn’t know the storyline of Maverick when we went to the theatre. I didn’t know that Goose would live on. I knew that Val was not quite Ice, but I was not prepared for how many of the details that made that risk taking beauty of a silver screen classic come to life would be recreated. It was a reminder of my excavation today. There is more to discover. There are more stories to tell. And even though things feel really dangerous and risky, there is some beach football in the future. No need to cry about the volleyball. It lives on. Thanks, Miles.

“I Drink Wine” – Adele

With all of the fun that the rediscovery of country has brought to my life, I am not 21. And the past few years have FELT nothing like college. 2022 has sounded much more like a good, rich, hard, wanting, hurting Adele ballad. The tones have felt big. Heavy. Right. But, oh, so hard. This self-love week cannot be fully sung without a big one. One that holds the reflection and truth. Adele, you are the grown-up badass. And you have taught me to be ok with not having it figured out.

“I hope I learn to get over myself. Stop trying to be somebody else. So we can love each other for free. Everybody wants something, you just want me.”

There are many of her songs that could hold this spot. I actually had to choose from 3 and the lyrics to this chorus sealed the deal. That’s the kind of big grief that it takes to grieve a life defining relationship. And that’s the most accurate label for my relationship with the divine. Humans are a completely different song.

This is where I might just surprise one or two of you. Adele is the answer to my forest fire. You remember the girl on fire? She is cool as shit. But she also has a tendency to be a out of control. Her flames are a bit wild when she throws the passion of a fight song on the hurt. This year has gifted me the ability to be Adele and Blue October. Most days its a crap shoot as to which one wants to come out to play, but it’s my choice. The best part of the growth is that the only thing that goes into that decision is what I need. On that day. Because tomorrow will be different. Hell, an hour from now will be different, let’s be honest.

Adele, can I just write a love note to you? OK, thanks…

Thanks for giving me the grown up words that speak truth and don’t back down from the hard. Thanks for not having it together and at the very same time, SO TOGETHER. Thank you for reminding me that you can’t fight fire with fire. Your songs tell me everyday that the only way through some of the hurt is soft and tender. And that’s good. You are still a boss, especially when you cry.

While Adele has been massaging the callous off my heart, my therapist has reminded me about safe circles. And my inner-inner-most circle is so small. Every time I think I have made peace with the changing responsibilities of a centered life, I begin to panic that I have made that circle too small. And then I am reminded. The only person I need in my inner circle is me. The others that are present are there because I trust them. Trust is hard when you have new legs. Ones that have been rebuilt because your joints have deteriorated. Ones that have not held weight. You’ve seen them on a baby animal. A giraffe or deer. They wobble. They don’t know quite how to use the muscles. That’s me and Adele-feels. But I’m over here with knocky knees and very strong reflexes. So it’s probably a good thing that I test market my soft in safe circles. Like other rage-ers. They seem to tolerate me and my need to move from tears to punching in .03 seconds. These undercover softies are my people.

I’m looking at you, LSO…

This picture will always remind me of one of my most wobbly leg days this year. I took it to remember. Along with every picture in this series.

“Be My Baby Tonight” – John Michael Montgomery

When I sent the playlist for this project to Lucas, he listened to the entirety of the 29 songs with no context and this was his first comment: “There was one song that I had to skip. I just couldn’t listen to it.” I was sure this was the one. It is the epitome of 90’s country and when I tell you we danced to Shania Twain at our wedding, that is one of the greatest gifts of our very complicated relationship negotiations. But, I was wrong. So, just know there’s more musical fun to come.

The year was 1994. John Michael Montgomery was the hottest thing on the country scene. I can sing way too many of those gems, even still today. Oh, the brain cells that I have dedicated to song lyrics. I’m so sorry art history. You never stood a chance. Instead, I embraced all things JMM and the Grundy County auction. Sold.

A wonderful thing happened to me in the Fall of 1994. For the first time in my life I felt like I found my people. I can remember sitting on the floor with friends that September and I just had a coming home. I was 19. I was loving life, and this song reminds me of it. You see, back in the day, we were creative musical geniuses when it came to selling our Greek organizations. Could you, would you, ain’t you gonna be a KD tonight? Yep. And, I got to sing it. Absolute genius.

If you knew me from the Fall of 1994 – Spring of 1996, you had a window into a really rare sighting. When I look back on my seasons of growth, I have always condemned this season. For so many reasons, I threw the baby out with the bathwater when it came to making peace with the then. And then this song magically appeared to jump out of my speaker this Fall and it made sense.

This song is the fun factor. It’s the perfect example of a time when I didn’t take myself so seriously. It was also the only time in my life prior to 2020 that I was not in church every week. College was the best. And it wasn’t just the freedom and tomfoolery. It was an opportunity to think for myself. It was knowing that I messed up and not hating myself for it. It was deeply connecting with people about the things that mattered and the things that didn’t matter at all. Most people go to college to get an education. My education was in independence and it was so important.

If you know the story of the following 25 years…the scaffolding of my life was religion. It gave me the tools that I needed to keep the project of my life moving. Especially when that pesky humanity got in the way. But on this side of the construction zone, I have embraced the warmth of a non-judgmental scavenger hunt for the moments not celebrated. And college was one of those. Because, lets be honest about all the changes in me and the world – being a Baylor grad is not always popular. Especially in my heart. But my memories of some of the greatest moments of really saying “what if” came in the wonder and joy of that season. I laughed. And did a lot of other things. But, I love those memories. This year, I have drawn on the wisdom of that season that I have often ignored in adulthood.

I have some great ideas about returning to my care-free self. And some of my best dreaming has already produced more in body ink and “HELL YES” moments than my 1996 self would have known what to do with. I kinda thrive on surprising her these days. So, I’m just gonna be over here dreaming about what it takes to be a rhinestone Romeo, and I’m totally here for it. Let me know, JMM.

“Girl on Fire” – Cameron Marlowe

Much to the chagrin of the other humans in my immediate family, this song is far from the last off the country charts. But what you must know is that my relationship with country is…complicated.

There was nothing that I loved more than country music in 1991. The sounds of Clint Black and Clay Walker will always make my innocent girl heart so happy. But there is something that happened as the artist changed and the sound became 2012 country. It wasn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, I was still going to the rodeo, but something changed and I found other sounds.

Funny stuff, I don’t recall my parents listening to country. Country came into my life when my zeal for all things holy came to full bloom. Apparently, the unwritten rule of the southern moral measuring stick in the 90s said that Christian and country could co-exist. Don’t even get me started on “Fancy” and booze and “Earl” and boots under beds, but I digress. I loved Jesus, so I was cool with country. Until I found three genres: hip hop, singer songwriter and whatever the guy I wanted to hang around with was listening to. And ohhhh, was there more music out there.

Because of my immediate association to the past, prior to this year, I listened to 90’s country and a few other songs with a nice country bass line about 3 times a year. Just enough to annoy the alt-heads in my family. But something happened this year. I started listening to country again. It started with old songs. The ones that I could remember laughing and crying to. Then I found newer artists. The ones that had good stories and better rasp. You will hear a few of my new faves on this list, and this is one of them.

Back to that “Girl on Fire

This is a great opportunity to point out that if you read into the words of these songs, you are going to miss the mark. Take for instance this song. I was not the girl on fire. Ever. I did not have a boy wanting to chase the girl on fire. But this year, I listened to this song and with no connection to the melody or lyric, I wanted more country.

I’d wanted to remember the times when the biggest decision was whether I was upset about 93Q “turning country” or if I was going to admit that I owned explicit CDs. I wanted to hug the girl that threw away her cassette tapes because she thought they gave her impure thoughts. I wanted to remind the girl that has always LOVED country dancing that you can dance even if everyone arounds you hates it. You get to choose.

What I think I have discovered (please, I’m less sure than ever) is that the people that you want in your corner secretly know the words and tap their feet to YOUR country songs even when they hate the sound. It’s weird how love works. It warps the things that you want to protect. And maybe that’s what the girl on fire is all about. She knows who she is and that’s what creates her fire. I’d like to think that the darkness of the past few years has just been preparation for the bonfire that is about be lit in my life. Because, truth be told, I’ve got some fire starting to make up for. So I’ve been dreaming. And allowing the meld of the new and the old to help me envision a world where it all comes together. This is the kind of reconnection I’m looking for today. One where I can explore the forgotten, honor the truth of what is and dream a beautiful rainbow musical dream for tomorrow that includes Melissa and Tanya and Snoop.

“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.