February 22, 2012
“Let the music play, he won’t get away…” Shannon crooned in 1984. Jeans jacket, boys and cruising the strip with my older sister. Those memories will stay with me forever because the music didn’t fade even when my schoolgirl crushes did.
Music, the sonorous accompaniment of our days. It reminds us of the most monumental moments in our lives: the first kiss, a wedding, summertime or grief. Music frames us. It gives us meaning. According to the Journal of Music Therapy, exposure to certain kinds of music have even shown to improve verbal fluency and speech content in Alzheimer’s patients.
In a phrase, music can heal.
So when musicians die whose creations informed our adolescence, our year abroad or, later, the lives of our children, we experience a deep loss that moves beyond its sonic expression to the very expression of ourselves.
Music is personal. Michael Jackson’s passing was personal. So was Amy Winehouse’s and, most recently, that of Whitney Houston.
When people die “too young”, we are particularly outraged. Where is the sense in it? Cut down at the prime of their lives? And when an entire liturgy of music, our music that was actually theirs that they share with us to make it our own, goes with them, we feel cheated and alone.
We are reminded, then, not of the beach, or our first mate or the birth of our children. We are reminded of the bank account of time that each of us has. We are faced, if only for one E! episode long, that time is all we have. And as the late and great Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, said in his famous Last Lecture, “Time is all you have and you might find one day that you have less than you think.”
That is not to say we should live in a time-starved state, watching the units on the clock tick away our lives into nothingness. Instead, we are called to embrace time abundance, embedded in gratitude, for that which we do have.
And when we let the music play, we will be reminded of the soundtrack of our lives with all the ups, downs and in betweens that made us, and the artists who were at our sides on the journey, who we are.
July 20, 2009
Change is all there is. And change is certainly in the air now. It seems in the last four weeks we have lost so many icons of our childhood. I don’t know about you, but the passing of these people has put my life into perspective.
We are on this earth to make a difference. Farah Fawcett, with her enviably thick locks and good looks, shaped my early understanding of womanhood. Okay, so Charlie always got to be mysterious while the Angels did his dirty work. But he was never stingy with a kind word, and we all knew who the real hero(in)es were in the story anyway.
Michael Jackson, about whom I have already written, leaves a gaping hole of sadness in many of our hearts. He spoke to that part of us which feels misunderstood, alone, freakish. Michael, we miss you.
And then Walter Cronkite, who taught us that’s the way it is this Day of the Month in this Year.
The passing of so many great people has indeed changed the outer landscape. But it has changed our inner ones as well. As we move through yet another transition in time, our internal change is expressed outwardly and vice versa.
It is indeed sad to say good-bye. Those footsteps are great that we must fill. But with change comes chance. We’ve got a pretty good one in my view…
July 9, 2009
How will you spend your bank account of time? Ponderings on this Thursday morning…
July 8, 2009
While much of the world was bidding Michael Jackson adieu, I was in a Salzburg radio station translating an interview with The Soulmate Secret author Arielle Ford on the other line. The radio host was incredibly gracious ~ she handed me her questions in German, which I simultaneously translated to Arielle. She spoke for two minutes, then I summarized what she said in German. I was very nervous at first, but relaxed after the first few minutes. All in all it went well.
Earlier in the day I grieved Michael Jackson’s passing. In fact, I’m not done yet. It comes in waves. The sight of him on the front page of a tabloid, his music on the radio ~ he has left a gaping whole in our hearts. As one new friend told me yesterday, “He gave so much of himself to this world. A piece of ourselves went with him.”
I was really present to the paradox of life yesterday. A joyful topic, such as finding your soulmate, can be handled simultaneously as a global icon bids farewell. It was a poignant moment for me in which I gave time an extra hug.
We all have a personal bank account of time available to us. Michael spent his time on Earth as an artist who was largely estranged from the very world he was entertaining. His fame came at a very high price.
I’ve decided to joyfully skip down the lane of life with my bank account of time resting softly in my heart. What will you do with yours?