I really enjoy music. It’s a fantastic way to vent out emotion. Anger, frustration, happiness, joy, peace, love, it’s all easily expressed in music. And isn’t it amazing how music can be tied to a memory? I’d like to take a few minutes to share a few of my earliest memories with music. I’m starting to get into the “old fart” stage of life if my nieces are right. So the fact I still remember these is a testament to how deeply music can be tied to a memory.
I remember hearing my mother humming as she did the dishes when I was a child. It gave me a feeling of peace and security to hear the contentment and happy lilt of her voice. She was probably trying to drown out the noise of my siblings and I as we thundered through the house having adventures. But for me it always made me want to join in. Every time I did she would stop, so I soon learned not to sing along. But it’s still a favorite memory. As a kid it gave me comfort.
When I was eight I was baptized; as all the kids who want to be are in LDS congregations. My friends were baptized too. At every baptism the newly baptized person needs to dry off and change after the dunking. So to entertain the congregation there is usually a video played or hymns sung. When I was eight there was a popular church video that was supposed to remind us that families are forever. It missed the mark though. All I remember was the gut wrenching heartache of the boy in the video as he lost his mother- the most wonderful woman in the world. The music playing had these words: “I’ll build you a rainbow. Way up high above. Send down a sunbeam all plum full of love. Sprinkle down raindrops, teardrops of joy. I’ll be happy in Heaven watching over my boy.” They have stayed with me all these years because of the power of music and lyrics. And I still ache for that little boy who lost his mom. To me it was cruel and horrible, and still makes me cry. It’s one of the reasons I am so determined to live well into my child’s adulthood. I can never let him be that little boy. But I digress…
Another great memory is watching the Dukes of Hazard with my brothers. When I would hear that theme song start up I’d come running. I loved Bo and Luke Duke and their bows and arrows. I still love hearing the guitar intro to that song. It’s an iconic show for my generation of southern kids. I learned my first lessons about family support and helping the underdog while watching those shows. Add to that the A-Team, and Thundercats and you have my early childhood. Their theme songs were the melody of many happy memories.
I also remember the first time I really listened to the words of the song that was playing on the radio. I was driving home with Mrs. McDaniel. I looked up to her and when she asked me if I had a type of music I preferred, I had no idea what she meant. My Dad loved classical music. And aside from the before mentioned theme songs I didn’t know the names for anything. So I let her choose. I was eleven so when she suggested love songs I almost threw up in my mouth. But I let the song play to see what she meant. The words were sweet, but it did make me want to puke. It was then I began to realize that music was something that would forever have a power over me. To this day I am cautious with the music I listen to. Because the lyrics stay with me and affect my emotional state. But they also teach beautiful lessons.
I’ll never forget hearing that a sweet relative was getting a divorce. It was the first in my husband’s side of the family. And the hurt and betrayal reverberated off every one of us as this horrible woman hurt him over and over again. Kelly Clarkson’s song “Since you’ve been gone” became the marching music of that time for me. It gave me strength and was a great outlet for my anger. The words are so appropriate in the chorus where it said “Since you’ve been gone I can breathe for the first time. I’m so moving on….” This former relative of mine had caused so much contention for so many years that we needed some kind of anthem for her leaving.
So now we start tying these memories to the great lessons of life. If you learn nothing from what I say in this article, please remember this. It’s really important to listen to the lyrics of what you are jamming to. That day with Mrs. McDaniel taught me that quite powerfully. And I’m glad I learned it because later in my life, as my friends were enjoying songs with elicit lyrics, I noticed when they didn’t. And we were all saved having those lyrics stuck in our heads, or worse, having them affect our thoughts and actions. It’s up to each of us to guard our own minds, and hopefully the minds of our innocent children, ‘till they are old enough to be on guard on their own. So choose good music. Choose to keep the light of Christ with you and you’ll be at peace. I wouldn’t trade my peace for anything. So enjoy your music, and remember it’s making a memory.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.