Music and memories

The Facebook feed was Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” and the memories flooded back. Recently divorced, starting over (again), a young son (who’s about to be 30), and a man that probably loved me more than I could ever return…and it was as real as yesterday.  I can still feel his fingers as they reached across the backseat of the  truck and up under my hair as Whitley’s words seared in my brain for what is evidently going to be a lifetime. My lifetime.

I wonder if songwriters know…really know…the lifetime mark they leave on us?  And how amazing the brain is…that a single line of a song can elicit such a deep, primal response?

A very old boyfriend (not him…just a long time ago) reminded me tonight that hindsight is a bitch. How many loves have I thrown to the curb on  a whim?  More than I care to admit. But the music always takes me back to that moment when the relationship had such promise…or when it was falling apart and I just couldn’t swallow my pride and be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is a concession I’ve had to be diligent about recognizing and practicing in my old age. It’s that place where music finds us…and transforms us…and imprints us for life.

Elvis Presley’s, “In The Ghetto“…small town Tennessee…pre-teen…I remember how haunting it was. It still is 40 years later.

Hello Darlin” by Conway Twitty…the ring back on a phone from a man I loved so deeply and yet failed at miserably.

Then there were the Colorado years. Melissa Etheridge was my go-to CD. I still love her wild abandon attitude. I recently looked for that CD at McKay’s Used Bookstore. When I do find it…those that know me well and for a long time…know I will be riding to the lake, windows down, music cranked up, and remembering those years of my own wild abandon.

Ah, the Jimmy’s era!  Great friends and so much fun we didn’t realize we were having the time of our lives. To this day if “That Summer” by Garth Brooks comes on, I crank it up and the smile of nostalgia couldn’t be restrained even if I wanted it to be.

Music is solace…a place to reflect…a place to let the light creep through the cracks in your soul…and sear your heart forever. Proof is in the beginning chord that washes over you and transforms you to time and place.

With the thought that music is really bottling the memories, I’m choosing to make better music choices. Recently, a friend and I saw the movie, “The Shack,” and the soundtrack moved me such that I ordered the CD. And then I discovered Hillsong United. Wow!  Now THAT is a bottle I want on my life shelf.

Perspective

A sweet colleague today commented on how much she had enjoyed my blog over the summer and I had to, once again, wonder why I hadn’t really blogged since I’d come home from the beach. 

Lisa and I discussed this on the way to the car and I said that I felt like I didn’t have anything important to say lately. Upon contemplation this evening, I reflected that “important” is truly about perspective. 

Today was day 1 for students returning to school. Three days of pre-planning had left me mind-numbingly tired. But as students arrived today, the heartbeat of the school regained its normal rhythm and life returned to the work-normal. Exhausting. Satisfying. Controlled chaos. And a beautiful thing to be a part of. 


Love these girls!  They make work feel like a comedy show all day long. And no, I am not pregnant…they’re just skinny!!! I’m normal…remember it’s all about perspective people!

People are amazed when I tell them how wonderful most teenagers are. What you see in the news is so not the norm. When their faces light up when they see you and rush in for a hug, it’s like one of your own children returning for a visit after a long journey. This world will be fine with these young people…it’s a realization you only get to experience when you’ve watched them blossom from bratty freshman to confident seniors. When you no longer feel this way about students, it’s time to retire from teaching. 

I’m moved. I’m settled. My new loft feels like home and is spectacular. All my people are finding some level ground after a trying few months. School has started. The planning and collaboration is breathing new life into old lessons. The beautiful chaos that is teaching has begun. The routine of a schedule is welcome and life is “important” again.  On a side note…is it weird that I heard a crackling noise from the neighbor above me and for a brief moment I thought there might be an announcement in my living room?  Yes, it’s day 1 of a new school year!

As the night closes in, I reflect on the beauty of living alone…eating a frozen pizza for dinner…only buying enough things to make one trip from car to house…being positive that there is always toilet paper on the roll…taking my bra off at the front door…going to bed before nightfall and no one to judge. 

And I just want to point out that even though I now have 80 channels to watch, not a thing interests me. For the record, this mindset often happens with the men in my life too!  More than one friend has noted that it’s no wonder I can’t keep a man. Oh well!