My hair brush was my first counselor.
That make-shift microphone was the one to whom I sang all my heart’s first songs. With her, I could try getting loud and unselfconscious. I could work out being scared, and mad that I’m scared, while belting “I’m Just A Girl;” I noticed the longings of a girl who wants an epic love along with “I Will Always Love You” and “My Heart Will Go On.” I practiced being picky about what “Any Man of Mine” could be like with Shania Twain. I could imagine loving enough to have my heart broken with Dashboard Confessional.
She knew that sometimes I got scared, angry, hungry, confident, and passionate.
Music remains my trusty on-ramp to prayer, to discover what I really think or feel, to explore what I really want or am capable of. It’s the surest way to make sure I’m really awake to the world around me, and inside me. It helps me imagine the future glorious, remember what’s true of the past, and connect to the current reality. My favorite teacher, it repeats and reprises the things I know are true somewhere deep down but the rest of me needs help understanding.
Watching my kids fall in love with this teacher, too, makes my soul, well, sing! Watching Jubilee sing “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” while gazing out the window on a car trip a few years back, a dream I didn’t fully realize I had, came true. Sometimes the four of us will be in the car, and both girls will be in their own world, narrating something through song. We use songs in our house to teach about sharing, using the potty, feelings (thank you, Daniel Tiger) and to impress our love for each other and God’s great love for us.
I hope that music will teach them, too, how to connect with the deepest parts of themselves, the heights of creation and eternity. Their song will be different from mine, to whatever extent, and what a joy it will be to watch them explore what it will be, for we were all “born with a song we were made to sing.”