princessemmablog

A Work in Progress: Walking with Jesus

Soundtrack to my Life

on May 30, 2015

There is nothing quite like music to instantly transport you to another place, another time. This struck me afresh a couple of weeks ago, when I was lucky enough to be invited by my sister Becky to a concert in her home city of Birmingham. I hadn’t been to an event like that for a long time, so I’d forgotten the excitement, the feeling of anticipation mounting as gradually 16,000 people found their seats or somewhere to stand. The lights going down, the warm-up beginning, loving hearing the fabulous Ella Henderson sing but knowing that she was only a tasty starter, the main course being yet to come.

An interval, moving the set around. The lights go down, a couple of artists come on stage but you can’t see their faces. Is it them? Is it starting? They toy with the audience a bit, tease them, but then three figures appear and everyone knows. A collective scream comes from the assembled masses and there they are! Gary, Mark and Howard. What remains of Take That. Their music provided the soundtrack to so much of my teenage years, but so much I’d forgotten. Hearing it again brought so much flooding back.

Doing the dance routine to ‘Could It Be Magic’ with my ‘posse’ of friends, age 15, in my then-boyfriend’s front room.

‘Back for Good’, which marked the end of every Churchill Pav, the Thursday night disco held in the bar and the highlight of our undergraduate week.

‘Never Forget’- the last one before they split up (first time around), so obviously tinged with memories of hysterical overreaction by 19 year-olds who were old enough to know better.

There was a 10 year gap in the middle but then they picked up the baton again. ‘Patience’, ‘Shine’, ‘Greatest Day’ taking me back to when I was at home with my munchkins when they were tiny.

I wouldn’t call myself the world’s biggest Take That fan (honestly!)- but I found it an uplifting and emotional experience singing the familiar words along with so many other people, and submitting to waves of remembrance and nostalgia as I did so. Even if Gary Barlow’s thank-you-for-coming talk did involve thanking everyone for getting babysitters, reminding us collectively of our advancing years.

Music moves us. It speaks to our hearts, our souls, as well as our minds. It gets under our skin in a way mere spoken words can’t. We find it easier to remember the words we sing along to than those we just read- they seem to become hard-wired into our brains much more easily. I guess as a Christian that’s why I try and pay attention to what the munchkins and I listen to.

During our recent trip to the USA we did a lot of driving, and listened to a lot of music on the radio along the way. There is a very different line-up of radio stations over there compared to here in the UK, with many stations playing either country music or contemporary Christian music. I’m a big country music fan but the girls just loved the Christian music stations (especially Z88.3 Orlando!) and so that’s what we mostly listened to. We came home with a family playlist of songs that had touched all of us as we listened to them repeatedly, and which became the soundtrack to our holiday.

One song in particular really touched my big girl and me. I will be forever grateful to Francesca Battistelli for writing the beautiful ‘He Knows my Name’, that reminded my munchkin and I that we are loved, chosen, free, forgiven, children of the King. That it doesn’t matter whether we are known or celebrated by anyone else- we’re famous in our Father’s eyes, and we are loved just as we are, and used just as we are, imperfections and all. It was a perfect accompaniment to our holiday of a lifetime, and if it remains the soundtrack to my daughter’s life I will be a happy mummy indeed.

Do have a listen. It’s a beautiful song. And who knows, maybe it’ll end up being the soundtrack to your life, too.

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