One of the questions people sometimes ask me is: what do you do for yourself?? What do you do that you enjoy that helps you to escape the difficulties at home?
This is not purely a psychological or therapeutic question. It’s important for all of us to have things that we do that bring us joy…and it’s even more important when life seems to weigh us down and circumstances seem to take all the joy out of life. So I’ve been thinking lately about what brings me joy.
I definitely enjoy this blog. I like writing, both on here and in my private journal. I also love to knit and crochet…although with summer temperatures at close t0 100 degrees for weeks on end, I’ve been less inclined to pick up my wool. Same with cooking. I love to cook. But this summer has been a time for cold salads, sandwiches, and — I hate to admit this because I’m such a pizza snob — cheap takeout pizza.
But I did realize that one thing that brings me joy is music, and sharing music with people I love.
In our house, music has amazing powers to set the tone for our family life. When the kids are acting too wild, Ben and I consciously put on classical music to create a more peaceful atmosphere. We love listening to all kinds of music, singing and dancing together. Music is bonding. It lifts us out of ourselves. It helps us to release our inner emotions, whether sorrow, joy, excitement, or just plain energy — and with three kids between the ages of 6 and 11, we have a lot of energy in our home!
We all share one ipod playlist, and the songs we listen to are about as diverse as you can imagine. We have music from John Williams to Stevie Wonder; from Queen to Eva Cassidy; from Blues Traveler to the Taylor Swift. Two of my kids love Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber (yes, I am fully responsible for choosing most of the music on the ipod). Ben loves jazz, so the kids also enjoy singing along with Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. And we all love Seeds family worship, which has been key in helping us memorize scripture and hide God’s word in our heart. In fact, Ben calls one of my favorite songs “Carry it On” (based on Phillipians 1:6) the James bond theme for Christians. It sounds like it should be on a soundtrack for a James Bond movie, but helps us to remember that “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
Today the kids and I were driving to pick up Ben’s sister from Dulles airport. Ben was at home, and I could tell from phone conversations with him that he wasn’t doing well. I was tempted with feelings of anger, fear and despair. But the kids and I spent the 40 minute ride listening to various songs on my ipod, singing as loudly as we could, and instantly my mood was lifted. I was reminded once again of the healing power of music. The kids and I had a great time driving down to Dulles. We sang, danced in our seats, and drove down 495 oblivious to the world outside of our car and the joyful noise inside .
Driving in the car with my kids today, I was reminded how important it is for me to take more time to listen to — and sing along with — my favorite music.
Oh, and Starbucks doesn’t hurt either!