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Soundtrack of Your Life
'Walk' photo (c) 2005, Katherine Johnson - license:
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here's this week's!

When I was in elementary school, I would drift off to sleep listening to a top 40 music station, because that’s what cool kids did.

When I became an adult and realized I’d never be cool anyway, I hit the “seek” button on my car radio and came across a song about how the good stuff in life is all the memories you build with those you love. And as I drove along the highway, tears streaming down my cheeks, I knew I had found the music of my heart. I may have grown up attending the ballet, but I’m really a redneck woman who loves country.

Perhaps you’ve never been that enamoured with country, since you don’t need to listen to songs about losing your truck, or your dog, or your wife, but then you’re missing out on its power! Believe me, country music has power. A study done about a decade ago found that of all forms of music, country music is the most linked to suicide. So if you ever had a sneaking suspicion that there was something not quite right about Willie Nelson or Billy Ray Cyrus, you’ve now been vindicated.

But perhaps it’s the most linked to suicide because it sings about the stuff that really matters, and pairs it with music that’s haunting (though it may haunt you in a very different way than it haunts me).

Music does that. After watching a movie marathon for a weekend, I’ll start to imagine my own life with a soundtrack, since nothing ever happens in a movie without music to go along with it. Have you ever just been walking along the sidewalk and a shiver runs up your spine, because you feel like there should be creepy music playing? Or perhaps you’re not so morbid, and you hear an upbeat guitar during the happier parts of your life.

It’s hard to imagine life without music. I’ve heard it said that God created music so that we could worship without words, and I like that thought. Music itself creates a mood and speaks to us and through us. It’s painting pictures with sounds.

I live in a house with teen girls, so for the last few years I’ve been inundated with Taylor Swift. Swift has a rather clever tune entitled “Our Song”, where she describes what comprises the soundtrack of her romance. Their soundtrack isn’t a particular song, but it’s the slamming screen door when they run out for a date, or the way he laughs, or the whispered phone calls late at night. These things encapsulate their relationship.

Summer is filled with that kind of music to me. It’s the music of the breezes as I type outside on my deck; the screams of thrills as little children put their toes in the water at the beach; the sound of the overloaded camper backing up out of the driveway as we leave for vacation, and the children querying, “are we there yet?” It’s the campfire crackling as my daughters and I sing in a round, and my husband sits back to enjoy the melody, rather than joining in and wrecking it. It’s woodpeckers and splashes and even the buzzing of mosquitoes.

Soon the soundtrack will change to school bells and football practice and alarm clocks and times tables being recited. Each new season and stage of life has its own soundtrack, and its own songs. And so, as I head to the store to buy new fall clothes for my ever-sprouting teenager, I’ll flip on the radio, hoping to hear another song that will express that excitement I feel watching my girls grow up, tinged with just a little bit of melancholy. It’s country time. And if you like a good cry, and you’re not overly depressed already, why not join me?

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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