After an inspiring conversation with good friends one night this past summer, I was challenged to create a soundtrack of my life, which turns out to be a much more daunting task than it may originally seem. I dug deep and stretched my mind into memories that I had intentionally tucked away, to those that I am deeply fond of, and to those that make my heart smile, break, and cling to hope. And through this journey, I bring you MELodies: Volume One.
1) Sweet Melissa – The Allman Brothers. Naturally.
2) Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison. At first glance this song may appear to be cliché, but I assure you it is not on my album only in reference to my eye color, but because it brings back such fond memories of my childhood. I can vividly recall dancing and twirling on the beach with my dad while the band strummed this tune in the background. Sha la la la la la la la la la la ti da….
3) Wide Open Spaces – The Dixie Chicks. Slightly embarrassing, but these lyrics of newly embarked-upon independence were sung loudly and passionately by my friends and I as we straddled the line between childhood and adolescence. We loudly identified with the lyrics as our personal declaration of growing into our own uniqueness. What can I say? We were young.
4) ATLiens – Outkast. I was determined not to include this song, but if I’m going to be honest, it belongs. It takes me straight back to my rebellious teenage years, to being young and naïve and carefree.
5) Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty. Throughout high school, I blasted this song at inhumane levels in my car, shouting the words as a reminder to stand my ground, to stay true to myself, and to uphold my convictions when faced with resistance. Admittedly it didn’t always work, but it surely kept me grounded at times.
6) Breathe or Time – Pink Floyd. The first time I listened to Dark Side of the Moon, I was babysitting my cousins, randomly picked up the CD, and then played it on repeat the rest of the afternoon. I consider that my initiation into good music; I was mesmerized. And so began a love affair.
7) You Had Me From Hello – Kenny Chesney. This was Josh’s song for me. I didn’t realize its worth, or really even like it, until he was gone. Josh was my best friend who tragically died in September 2007, something from which I will never fully recover. My comfort lies in the fact that he is spending eternity in Heaven, where we will one day laugh together again.
8) Amazing Grace – Various Artists. This song is me; this is my story: I once was lost but now I’m found. This is the story of anyone who knows their inadequacy in living this life without a Savior and has discovered redeeming love through the grace of God. In the past year, I have been blessed with many beautiful, strong, inspirational men and women in my life who have made the path to the cross so incredibly real and so desirable. This song was also played at both Josh’s and my grandfather’s funerals, both of whom left unspeakably impactful footprints on my heart.
9) Jesus, Etc. – Wilco. This song reminds me of my best friend and boyfriend, who introduced me to the beauty of growing a relationship from friendship: You can rely on me honey, you can come by any time you want.
10) What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love – Burt Buchanan. This is just true. No explanation necessary.
11) Til Kingdom Come – Coldplay. This song is love, true love. Despite the times it hurts, the hearts I’ve broken, and the hearts that have injured mine, I am thankful for love. It’s the sweetest thing…
12) Slow Dance or What Else Would You Have Me Be – Lucero. It is much too hard to choose just one Lucero song. Not only has the band provided me with motive to attend countless festivals and shows, but their songs tell the stories my heart feels but can’t put into words.
13) Forever Young – Bob Dylan. This song is everything I want, my personal anthem. I listen to it to keep me on track, to stay focused on the important things in life.
14) Leaving on a Jet Plane – Chantel Kreviazuk. This song represents all the goodbyes I’ve said in my life. I instinctively turn to this song when my heart hurts over a goodbye; there is something so haunting yet soothing in these words. To boyfriends past, during forced apartness due to distance, farewells to old friends, and to the end of chapters in my life.
Give it a try! And let me know if you do, as I would love to read some other life soundtracks. If you would like to own this compilation in audio form, I’m sure we can arrange something.