I’m back and resolved to write more often. Today I’m introducing what I hope will become a new habit: sharing a song of the week. The rules are: there are no rules, not really. It just has to be a song, a new or past discovery, that means something to me, and I’ll try to explain why it’s meaningful in my post.
I live and breathe music. I have a playlist (made consciously or otherwise) associated with nearly every major person or event throughout my lifetime. The All-American Rejects’ self-titled album? That sounds like summer to me, in particular, the one after 7th grade. Anything by My Chemical Romance? I think of the first boy I had a major crush on (*cringe*). Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”? Whenever I hear it, I see my dad singing to my mom. I can’t listen to Alt-J without thinking of my friend Kenzie, the two of us yelling the “NAW NAWNAWNAW” part of “Breezeblocks” out the windows of her car. Regina Spektor’s “How” helped me through a hard breakup and MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” brings to mind so many ridiculously fun days of high school tennis. When I think about my boyfriend, Bryan, I hear Imagine Dragons (the first concert we went to together), Hillsong United’s “Take Heart,” and Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are The Best Thing.” Modest Mouse= my brother, Spencer, and Family Force 5= my friend Taylor and the swag we used to think we had (she probably wants to forget about that. :P) Listening to “Disco Inferno” makes me think of the time Grandpa Von and I danced like fools at my 16th family birthday party (now, that was hilarious) and “Moonlight Sonata” of my years of piano lessons. And on, and on, and on.
Just writing this is making me smile. And okay, I know these experiences, these associations with music, are not unusual, by any standard. It’s just that they happen to be tied to events in my particular life, not yours. But I also know that a lot of people just listen to Top 40 radio, to Ke$ha, LMFAO, Taylor Swift, One Direction, and say, “oh yeah, I love music.” But that’s not loving music, at least not in my humble opinion. That’s saying, “it’s popular, so I like it,” and not even realizing that. Or just not caring.
And hey, that’s okay! I’m not trying to bash non- music lovers.
But I am trying to take a bit of a stand against the herd mentality. “She likes it, he likes it, so I need to like it, we all like it; therefore, it’s great.”
I aim to share what I think is great, songs that are deep, real, raw, different…or even silly and fun, but still worth listening to. Music that’s worth thinking about and wrestling with. Music that connects me to people, places, and experiences. Music that reminds me why I love music so much!
With that in mind, I’d like to finally introduce my first Song of the Week! It’s called “Joy,” by Page CXVI.
I kept listening and I realized: it’s powerful. I was- and am- so moved by this song. I’ve never found anything that better explains joy, and so simply.
“Joy” does not equal “happiness.”
I think it’s hugely important to realize that!
Tifah Al-Attas wrote this song in response to her father’s death. I’m guessing that she found it really, really hard to be happy, but she knew it was possible to still have joy.
So, what is joy, right? I googled it, and I found as the first result: “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” This is what Merriam-Webster thinks. But see, Merriam-Webster’s not a Christian. When I gave up on the Internet and tried to define “joy” through my own, Christian perspective, the first thing I thought of was the fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians 5:22-23.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The fruit of the Spirit: the qualities present in true believers. So…joy must be something that comes from God. And it is! The best way I could come up with to define joy is that it’s sort of the sense of hope and peace you can have when you know who you are and you know where you’re going (eternally) because you know and trust God. And that’s enough, regardless of circumstances outside of your control (because they always are).
I just think it’s so cool that one song can so effectively convey all that. And in fact, I know of one more, as well. I’ll leave you with this, a stanza of the most beautiful hymn I know.
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
joyfully yours, j