The Soundtracks of Our Lives

Have you ever talked to a teenager, only to realize they aren’t compliantly nodding in agreement to your words, they’re bobbing along to the beat of the music throbbing through their ear buds?

With today’s technology, we can create our own personal musical score, like a movie soundtrack for our lives. We plug in our iPods (or as my friend and fellow writer Gina Welborn says, our “faux-pods”) and inject song and sound into our heads. Never before have we had such easy access to music of every genre and era. I can just as easily download Pink as a selection of Gregorian chants. I don’t have to BE a musician or FIND a musician to listen to music. No longer are we subject to the whims of a radio DJ or {shudder} caller requests, or the back side of an album, or the hidden tracks on a cassette tape.

I’ve been tempted to plug myself in to my MP3 player at the grocery just to escape whatever piped-in satellite radio station the store is playing. AndI’ve been known to insert my pink ear buds to disappear into my own private realm while the usual chaos involved in a house of teenagers and dogs churns around me. But when I do, it’s with the realization that I must choose my own playlist, my own background score. These days, it’s all up to me. And sometimes, that’s just too much responsibility!

Movie makers use sound to heighten the emotional tension of a scene. There are the dark, minor keys for scary situations. Can any of us ever forget the “screak, screak, screak” sound in the Psycho shower? Or the swelling chords that accompany the drama of Gone With the Wind? I used to panic during Scooby-Doo cartoons when the monster music came on because I knew the big chase scene was coming. Movie soundtracks had (and have) the ability to transport us right back into the magic of a darkened theater, to embue us with the desired traits of our favorite characters.

Music can reflect who we are.
Or it can affect who we are.

Music can be a tool or a weapon we use to help or harm ourselves. King David of Israel played the lyre (a sort of mix between a harp and a guitar) and wrong hundreds of songs (psalms) during the course of his lifetime. What he wrote ministered to him, encouraged him when times were tough, and still provide comfort and encouragement and inspiration to millions of people today. When Saul was tormented by an evil spirit, he called for David to play for him. When David played, the evil spirit would leave Saul alone.

Don’t like the way things are going? Maybe it’s time to “change your tune,” literally. A version of that saying, “sing a new song,” according to The American Heritage┬« Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer, “dates from about 1300, and it has been theorized that it alludes to itinerant minstrels who changed the words of their songs to please their current audience.” Guess what, in today’s world, YOU are the current audience AND the minstrel!

Take a minute today and consider how you could use music to inspire, encourage, or even change some area of your life. For example, if you’ve got a negative attitude about life in general, you might start out with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Accentuate the Positive.” If you’re having a hard time in your marriage, don’t sit around and listen to mopey country tunes about infidelity and divorce all day… put on some of that music you listened to when you first fell in love with each other. Feeling sluggish and depressed? Check what’s playing in the background. It might be time to check out a different composer!

What would you put on YOUR life’s soundtrack? Or at least on your current playlist?

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