I spent the afternoon with an old friend…

I had a wonderful afternoon today. I spent it with an old friend.

The old friend was music…but not just any music. It was one of my favorite CDs that I hadn’t heard in a couple of years. It’s by Carolyn Arends and the album is called, “this much i understand”.

I think Carolyn is a balladeer. She is a Christian who sings wonderful songs about our lives. One song is called Happy and in it, she asks if she annoys us by her optimism and tells us she is going to dare to be happy. What a great message!

She goes on to sing Life is Long, which talks about some tough times in a woman’s life and she tells them to hang in there, that life is long, and tomorrow’s another day, that she believes they’re gonna make it. Who hasn’t had days when they needed to hear that?

I love them all but another particular fave of mine is called Life and Death, where she says that we are all just too busy, that we need to take the time to do what’s important and we forget that, “It’s a matter of life and death, all the choices we’re gonna get, to use our voices, make our choices happen here and now. What’s the matter with all of us? Chase the wind and we miss the bus. We get distracted from what matters and then somehow, we forget…it’s life and death.” It’s a real eye opener. ; )

An amazing love song is called The Day Will Never Come. In it, she tells her husband that the day will never come that she doesn’t love him, even if she can’t guarantee that she will always be the things he wants and needs from her. Now, THAT’S TRUE LOVE!

In a song called Surprised by Joy, Carolyn shares how she is astounded by God’s love and the wonderful things in her life, including God’s grace and the “little” things, like her son’s toothless grin. It is a song of gratitude and love…and we all need to be reminded of that!

One-Syllable Words talks about how instead of all the psychobabble, legalese, big words and craziness in our world, we need to get back to using some one-syllable words like “faith and hope and love, truth and peace and trust, dream and pay and watch and play”…stuff like that. Who can’t agree with that?

An absolute favorite that will often bring me to tears is her song, Even the Wallflowers, where she speaks to her infant/toddler, telling him that ever since he was born, she has been utterly amazed, astonished at his level of perfection and although she can’t imagine how anyone could hurt him, she knows they will. She wishes she can protect him from all the bad things of life but if she does, she knows he may never learn that even the wallflowers do survive, in fact, they can thrive, even in the shadows…and that there is a power in finding that out for himself. In fact, someday, he will even tell it to his own kid.

A sad and beautiful song was written to her grandmother, who died sooner than Carolyn expected. She says that if she had known her grandmother would be leaving here so soon, she would have done a lot of things differently. She sings, “If you were here right now, I would Love You Out Loud“, and explains what that means by saying she would listen to more of her stories and laugh at her jokes, pray with her, tell her she loves her more often and other such wonderful things.  It is a touching and beautiful ode to her grandmother!

She ends the album with another favorite of mine. It is a song to her newly born son, where she tells him she knows how frightened he must have been to have been taken from his warm world inside her “to this delivery room”. She tells him that even though he doesn’t understand it now, he belongs and that they’ve been waiting for him, looking forward to showing him the place. It’s called We’ve Been Waiting For You and she tells him that he’s going to like it here and that there are wonderful things in store like the taste of ice cream and his first kiss.

Then, she gets more serious, saying she now realizes that she is on her own journey and that when it’s her turn to leave, she’s pretty sure she’ll be frightened. She tells him that even if she cries, she won’t be alone and when her room is ready and she arrives at the gates of Heaven, she knows she will hear them say the words that she said to him as he arrived here, “We’ve been waiting for you. We’re so glad you came. We’ve been looking forward to showing you the place. There’s so much in store and we’ve been waiting for you.”

What a great note to leave us with! There is such tenderness and hope in her songs and my heart was full and soaring by the time the last note was played. Throughout the afternoon, even though I tried to be productive, I discovered that I couldn’t bear to be distracted, to miss a word, and I had such fun singing along to all the words that came rushing back to me!

I had almost forgotten how important music is! It ministers to my spirit, my mind, my soul! Oh, the time I’ve wasted listening to so many other things! Do YOU have a favorite album or singer you haven’t heard in awhile? Even if it is just a favorite era or a style of music you used to love, I encourage you to play it…and let your mind experience the emotions that come along with it. Another thing…if you love to sing, sing along…even if you don’t think you sing well…sing…because that act will take you deeper into those places you’ve kept closed off, the places you loved, exposing parts of you that you thought were dead and you’ve missed.

Music IS the stuff of life! Viva la musica! Hahaha! What a wonderful gift music is! What a blessing Carolyn Arends is to me! I think I’m gonna have to go visit her web site so I can tell her and thank her for it!

So, what are you waiting for? Your old friend is waiting!  Go turn on the radio or put in an album, tape or CD! Turn on your satellite and go to the CD stations! Get out the MP3 Player! Just start humming! Whatever you do, go for it!

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