Of those who know me, when it comes to music, I am a bit of a fanatic. I admit to having almost 4,000 songs on my IPOD, and the number is always growing. I hoard music like one would photographs, each song brings back a different memory, an emotion, a feeling associated with it. For example, every time I hear Sublime, I remember the entire summer I spent listening to it; a summer with fond memories of skateboarding and jumping off reservoir bridges with three good friends. Those friends were only there for the summer, and when they left I kept their memory and the times we had in that music, and it returns to me every time I hear it. My entire life seems to have a soundtrack. My earphones are in so often that I might as well have them surgically attached. Lately though something interesting has begun; throughout the course of this semester I have change my taste in music.
Our discussions in class, the articles, and the books I have read concerning the environment have fortified many of my own personal convictions, and they have also helped me look at things from new perspectives, which has been of great value. But the most vital part of this engagement, has been the desire to once again reacquaint myself with the peaceful sound of nature, a genre often forgotten.
Think about it, just to start a conversation with someone walking from one class to the next often requires some form of sign language to get their attention, in order for them to take the headphones off. Its as if life is just a station on the radio that you listen to in between your favorite songs. For me it has not just been the memories that music can bring back, but I can also relate with the its message or the feelings it invokes. Some lyrics seem to tell your story, or share your feelings, and that can be comforting. For others, a steady and rhythmic beat helps to form a barrier from an unpredictable world; to know the words, to sing along, to tune out of reality. It can be akin to the lulling comfort of the lotus leafs described in Homers "Odyssey", which caused anyone who ate the flower or seeds to forget who they were, and their only interest was to eat more.
Odysseus had to carry his crew back to the ship, to remind them of their journey-which was ...to return home.
Living life "unplugged," has helped me "return home" ...by listening to the world around me; the sound of birds, of leafs, of the wind, and rain; a symphony-created by my Heavenly Father, a hymn that reminds me of his love and his omnipresence.
In one of my favorite films, the main character is going though a midlife crisis of sorts; he seems to be overwhelmed with his lot in life, and he is tired of going through the motions; he feels disconnected. In the end he finds peace, when he stops to appreciate the world around him. He concludes the film with these words, stated in calm resolution:
"there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax... and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude... for every single moment..." (American Beauty)
I invite everyone who reads this blog to stop... unplug... disconnect, to reconnect and tune in to the beautiful sound of the wondrous elements that surrounds us,... and if you do, you will feel this same gratitude. If we are grateful for what we have, we will treat it as our Father intends.