Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anatomy of a Playlist

Meet Fred. He is the oldest of our Middle Earthlings at a whopping 8 and 3 quarters years old. I mention Fred, because he and I took a drive to the vet's office this morning so that he could have his teeth cleaned. Fred has had more visits to the dentist than I have since I got my braces off in 1997, which is impressive since he wasn't actually born until 2002. Lucky boy! He would disagree. Fred has a bit of a split personality. He's a lover at home. He loves a good nap, and by love, I mean he understands and respects the deep layers of brilliance and reverence that naps deserve, like I do. He's playful and, when he wants to, he'll actually fetch his toys when you throw them to him. But at the vet's office, he's what they call a "Hugs and Kisses Kitty". That little phrase stands in for one big four letter word, "RAGE". Oh yes! I can't really blame him. I mean, it must be frightening to go into an office filled with other animals that you've pretty much only seen from the living room window and have strangers poke you with needles and such. Like people, each animal handles the fear differently. Our girl, Merry, will purr, especially if she's with Mr. N., and remind the doctor and the staff of just how enchanting she really is. Pippin tends to embrace the fear and channel his anger into a rigid body, toothless hiss, and taco rolled tongue. He looks like a cobra ready to strike. It's pretty impressive, actually. Anyways, while Fred and I were in the car, I turned on my ipod and chose my favorite play list to calm his nerves. 

My favorite play list is entitled "Little Miss Sunshine" after the Richard Hargreaves children's book with a little bit of Alan Arkin, from the movie titled the same, thrown in. It's compiled of my most favorite songs. Not the ones that are just enjoyable, mind you, but the ones that make me feel AMAZING (thanks, dude!). The songs that I actually hope will come up next and start a mental dance party during (the only place I look good dancing. *tear). This play list is kind of like an explosion of 1940's big band meets The Swell Season with bits of shrapnel from the Steven Curtis Chapman mullet days, Mumford and Sons, and my favorite Christmas music. It's like a diet cherry coke with crushed ice and tater tots on a hot summer day. It has soothing properties. Fred seemed to calm down as soon as "Footloose" came on. I'm not sure he was visualizing Kevin Bacon dancing the same way I was, but that's his loss my problem okay. 

After a quick Starbucks run, my mind wandered from how difficult it is to drop my sweet boy off for the day every single time I have to, to how scary it is for both of us, to fear, to risk, to needing to be in control, to getting my hopes up, to that SNL skit of Will Ferrell singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" Lawrence Welk Show style and projectile vomiting (Andy William's version is in my play list for that very reason). Doesn't taking risks feel like that sometimes?! There's so much excitement and anticipation that seem to wrap us up in the festive sweater and turtleneck of a 1950's holiday special, but there's also the intense anxiety and projectile vomiting in realizing that we may fail, we may lose, we may have our hopes dashed again, we may not be in control of what happens next, and knowing that we really have no idea what the bleep is going on. All the what-ifs. A friend of mine recently gave a new clarity to a very familiar verse. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8 She focused on the word "True" and said that the things we worry about, the what-ifs that we blow to king-sized proportions, the futures we worry about, all of those things are not truths. Yes, it's good to be cautious sometimes, to be informed, and to make the proper preparations for our futures, but creating scenarios of what could be, or what we think should be, means that we're creating an imaginary world of sorts for ourselves and not focusing on what we know to be true, namely that God has everything under control. From Fred's vet visit, to which job He has just around the corner for us, to when we'll meet our future spouse, or be given the gift of a child, to how we'll pay next month's rent, to the state of our country....He knows it all. It doesn't make the waiting any easier, it doesn't always bring clarity, nor does it take away the fear and anxiety of not understanding His timing or His ways, but we know that He hears us, He grants us grace in each difficult moment, and will keep us going. Sometimes it's about the faith of stepping out, sometimes it's about the faith of staying back, and sometimes it's just about the faith of taking our fears, our worries, our frustrations, our hopes, our dreams and laying them before Him admitting that we're at a loss. Turning towards Him rather than away from Him in the tough times.

It really is a process. I guess it's good that I have a swinging soundtrack on this crazy journey. =]

"....Everybody cut footloose....."! 



  1. Oh, I so needed to hear this today. Dealing with fear and anxiety and a horribly terrifying challenge that God has put before us, yes, I needed to hear this. Thanks!

  2. You're welcome! We love you guys and are praying for you all!