Saturn (extra song)

As I’m sure you can see, I chose the below songs based on lyrics, not really music, because I am a writer and songs speak to me through their words. This song is an exception. I first heard it a couple months ago and it is also one of those songs that you have to completely immerse yourself in the music to fully appreciate it. I usually dislike songs with begin with a long, carried out introduction of instruments, but I was captured by its beauty in the first five seconds. The violin later accompanied by piano and other instruments builds up but it never loses its feeling of wonder and beauty.

It’s no surprise, however, that I was still caught up in the lyrics. I have never heard a song that compares to it because very rarely have I come across a song that sings about stars and the universe in the way this did. This is a wonder song (in fact, if Wonder had been a category I would have chosen Saturn, by Sleeping at Last), but it also tells a story about a person who is now gone. I love the line where it says, “I tried to write it down but I could never find a pen,” because they can never quite replicate the way their friend spoke about the universe. That’s what makes this song sad as well as beautiful. There’s something missing now when they look at the stars or “explain the infinite”.

This song makes me (like Indescribable and even All of the Stars) want to run outside at night to stare up at the infinite, catch a glimpse of who God is, contemplate our insane existence in this universe. I love it. I love this song.

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The following 7 posts are from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love, as well as an extra one) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

All of the Stars (Love)

I have never been in love, but I would imagine that this song describes what it’s like—or, if anything, what it feels like. I would imagine that when I’m looking up at stars on a cloudless night, it would be the feeling of warmth inside of me. I would imagine that when I hear a song that links to a memory, it would be the feeling of connection. I would imagine that when I’m going through my day, I would jump to thoughts of them when I see something in a store or when I notice the sun hitting the mountains. Being in love wouldn’t be having this person become my world. Instead, I would see them everywhere in my world, in all the little beautiful things and moments that I encounter.

This song is different because most love songs have their love right next to them, living life together. All of the Stars (by Ed Sheeran) has a love story between two people on different continents. Despite the difference, they take comfort in the fact that they look up at the same stars and appreciate the same wonder. They may be “miles away”, but they are not worlds away.

When or if I fall in love, I want him to enhance my life, not become my life. I want him to add to my wonder and joy of God and nature and words. Being in love will be far from perfect—scars bleeding and all—but it will feel like home. I’m beginning to see a theme to my song selection. There is great value in home.

 

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These 7 posts are from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

What Do I Know Of Holy? (Religion)

When I’m in a serious, contemplative mood, this is perhaps my favourite song. I grew up listening to it, which makes me love it even more because of its childhood connections, but it wasn’t until I rediscovered it a few years ago and completely immersed myself in the music that I truly fell in love with it. It’s one of those songs that if I ever sat down to write a song with this theme (and given amazing talent), this would be exactly it. For many songs, I enjoy most of the song. Sometimes the second verse isn’t as good or the bridge doesn’t meet my expectations. But for this song, I have to stop whatever I’m doing to listen to it because I can’t get distracted—if I miss even one line, I want to back up and hear it again.

The instruments and voice are nice, not spectacular, but the lyrics are everything in this song. I’ve grown up in church and I know “how” to be a Christian. I’ve made promises to him that I’ve broken; I’ve volunteered in kid’s church and told them of God’s power; I’ve prayed meaningless, insincere prayers to the God of the universe—I’ve done all these things! I remember one time, during a Hearing God session, I sat down in a kid’s church room and tried to hear God’s voice, but instead, I talked and talked about how I wanted to hear him and I barely listened. I think I know God, but I don’t. This song opened my eyes because for once I wondered, “What if I actually met a disguised Jesus on the streets? Would I recognize him?” You see, I’m familiar with Christianity. God, on the other hand, blows me away when I catch “a glimpse of who [he] might be.” God is sacred and beautiful and full of fire. His wounds heal me. His angels praise him. His creation exclaims him. This song gives me insignificance, but I’m okay with that. It reminds me that I am nothing without God, that he is bigger and more majestic than I can comprehend. What do I know of holy? Nothing. Maybe that’s fine. I’m learning.

 

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These 7 posts are from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

Come Home (Knowledge)

It wasn’t very long ago when I began listening to OneRepublic, and this song caught me. It’s different than the others they sing because of the calmer instruments and the sorrowful, serious tone. I appreciate unique perspectives and a chance to step in other’s shoes. (It reminds me of I’ll be home for Christmas by Josh Groban, with the voices of soldiers sending love to their families back home.) Come Home (by OneRupublic) is a plea to soldiers from someone who knows that what they’re doing is right but still desperately misses them. It’s a difficult issue because to serve their country and fight for freedom is an act of selflessness and bravery and deserves the highest respect, but it’s hard for all the people left home. “I’m tired of justifying,” he says. “The fight for you is all I’ve ever known.” All he wants is his loved one home again. It reveals that these soldiers are someone’s spouse or friend or brother—they’re real people, not just names or numbers or faces on a television. I chose to put this song in the knowledge category because I am quite clueless of what goes on during wars, in the troops and at home.

Specifically, I believe this song is from the perspective of a soldier’s young son or daughter. They don’t know much about wars or battles; all they see is the battle inside them, the battle at home. Why can’t the world just get along? Why can’t we just look around at the world’s beauty and stop hating each other? Their innocence in contrast to the reality of war is startling. It reminds of how I used to, and still do in some ways, look at humanity issues like poverty. “Why couldn’t everyone send a couple dollars to these causes?” I wondered. “Why don’t people seem to care?” While I have never had to deal with a soldier family member, this song reminds me of myself and how I wish people would deal with issues more generously and lovingly.

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These 7 posts are from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

Home (Comfort)

Being the somewhat sheltered kid I was, I believe Home (by Phillip Phillips) was the first secular song I began constantly listening to. In fact, when I first heard it, I didn’t know if it was a good idea to listen to it because it wasn’t Christian and he even mentioned demons! (At the time I didn’t know that Phillip Phillips was a Christian, even though it doesn’t matter; the content of the song matters.) But I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved the harmony and the acoustic sound to it—it felt raw and real. That’s why I put it in the comfort category. Not only is it one of the few songs I still listen to that I listened to at age twelve, it also feels genuine and simple. It feels like a song you could play around a campfire. It reminds me of memories, of good times, of friendship, which can all be summed up in the idea of familiar home.

I love the lyrics and how, despite the circumstances and the unknown, any place can be made a home. My family recently switched home churches, which has been unfamiliar and strange, but this song reminds me that I can make this new church my home. It doesn’t mean things are going to come easy, but I’m “not alone” in my life. I can come back to this song time and time again, for any reason—bad day, good day, bored, feeling inspired—and take comfort in the beauty of the music and the simplicity of the lyrics. Unlike many modern, popular songs, this is genuine and real. There is great value and comfort in that.

 

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These 7 posts are from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

Indescribable (Joy)

When my aunt and uncle bought me concert tickets to see Chris Tomlin, I was slightly disappointed because Chris Tomlin’s songs seem to come from the “How to write a worship song (in five minutes or less)” video on YouTube (seriously, look it up). He’s like the Eric Walters of the music world, spewing out song after song but never having anything spectacular. However, I had forgotten about Indescribable and when Chris Tomlin began playing it, the entire concert was worth it. Something about hearing a song I had occasionally sang in kid’s church for the first time in years, in a giant arena full of lights and music, with thousands of voices worshiping God, overwhelmed me with joy and wonder. I had never associated this song with joy, but I haven’t heard the song quite the same since.

        I have experienced God in nature time and time again, and I love how this song keeps listing off amazing thing after amazing thing about God’s creation and repeats how we can’t completely understand or describe God. I love that. His impossibilities and infinity fills me with excitement and joy. “None can fathom.” It makes me want to race outside and drink in the beauty around me and go exploring and travel to distant countries and walk on the moon and see everything in God’s indescribable, uncontainable creation. I also appreciate that the song focuses only on God and his creation. Half of the worship songs I know keep bringing it back to Christians and our struggles and journeys, but worship is all about God, not people. And yet there’s one line in the song that connects God’s amazingness to us—”you see the depths of my heart and you love me the same.” The God that created the entire universe still loves me and knows me. That’s amazing.

 

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These 7 posts are from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

My Wish (Friendship)

My sister Junia said My Wish (by Rascal Flatts) is one of those songs you had to play with the volume turned up loud, and I agree. You can’t play it quietly or have it as background music to your homework because it is rich with meaning and sincerity. It speaks a story, the story we all reach now and again in our lives—leaving the familiar, saying goodbye, a journey of change and life. I feel this especially as graduation creeps up on me and I’ll soon begin my own adventure, this feeling of apprehension and vulnerability and anticipation. But in the centre of this song is someone who also wants the best for you, who is excited for your new journey and is willing to let you take your own, delicate steps toward the future.

        I like this song because it isn’t a utopian idea but it still is full of optimism and joy. The friend acknowledges that mistakes will be made and decisions will be difficult, but he hopes “you know somebody loves you”, whether that be himself or a significant other or a family member. He is a support. There is a bittersweet taste to the lyrics because throughout this journey, you’re going to leave people and places behind—it’s a journey, after all. It sells the idea of a full, satisfied life packed with adventure and emotions and memories, all wrapped up in one person’s desire for their friend. This friend’s wish in the song is something I want in all my friendships and what I hope to give to those around me.

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This is the last of the 7 posts from a school Psychology assignment in which I had to choose one song for each category (Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Religion, and Love) and write a reflection. Enjoy!

Sunrise Illustrator

I wonder

At the brilliance of the sun

The never-ending One

.

I wonder

At the infinite universe

The planets and stars dispersed

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I wonder

At the rolling, crashing ocean

The mist that breathes emotion

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I wonder

At the sound of laughter

The joy that comes after

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I wonder

At the creator

The love translator

The mercy donator

The lost locator

The sunrise illustrator

The grace communicator

The One who is my maker.

The Weight of Words

​She got up at the front of the room, holding the novel in her hands. “You want us to read the whole scene?” she asked.

“Just the first couple paragraphs,” my English teacher replied.

She smiled, clearly uncomfortable, and mumbled a quick “okay”. I rested my head in my fingers and looked at the sheet in front of me, wondering what she would do. She began to read, and when the first swear word came out of her mouth, my heart broke a little inside. It wasn’t like I expected anything different from her, seeing how she had changed, for good and for worse, in the last few years. But I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that she had taken the easy way out.

It was a lot more comfortable for me to exchange the swear words in the novel for less rancid words, but I had chosen to surround myself with people that didn’t make me cringe with their speech. Although it felt awkward to skip some of the words of the page, it felt a lot better than dismissing my beliefs in order to accurately read the book.

I can’t give myself a pat in the back because it wasn’t like I did much better when we were working on a composition from the main character’s perspective. “You think I should swear in it?”

I looked at her for a moment. The problem was, the main character swore all the time, so it only made sense for the composition to have swearing. From most non-Christians, the answer was simple. “Well, it would make it seem more realistic,” I finally answered. Inside I cringed.

She looked over her paper. “Mm, okay.” I watched her write it.

There wasn’t much I could do. All I did was make sure MY composition didn’t have swearing in it, but that didn’t change HER composition. I felt gross. I wished she hadn’t “conformed to the world” or whatever they say in church. You become who your friends are. Most of my friends don’t swear. Many of hers do.

Even as I write this, I don’t know how her walk with God is going. We’re not close enough anymore for me to feel comfortable asking. She goes to youth, and probably church, but what else? Lots of kids do that, and they’re as atheist as they come. Is she pursuing God? I don’t know. That’s the problem with being around people you’ve known since elementary school. I still have this idea of who I think they are, based on who they used to be. It’s hard to let go of that.

His Holy Church

It didn’t seem like much effort was put into the lyrics, standing among the rows of crooked chairs at summer camp. It was the camp’s statement of faith squashed onto the projector screen, repetitive and unnecessary from what I could see. “I believe in God the Father, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in the Holy Spirit, etc, etc.” What was the point of it all? I already knew what I believed in.

The bridge, however, struck me with one line, “I believe in your holy church.” Despite what the rest of the song said, I couldn’t truly believe that line. God’s holy church didn’t mix up their theology or teach some spiritual gifts as higher than others, and they definitely didn’t fire godly, serving moms. I shouted that line, my way, I suppose, of asking God, “How holy is the church, really? What kind of church fires my mom?” I didn’t understand it.

As time passed and we settled into a new church, I began to see what my old church, from what I had observed and experienced, had lacked–community, and a type of preaching I thoroughly enjoyed. There was a reason God had sent us to this new church–there was a reason my mom had been fired.

When the same song appeared in church one day and I sang the line of his holy church, I looked around at the rows of different chairs and new faces and realized I believed in it once again. I shouted it still, but this time with conviction and thankfulness. God’s church was holy. Maybe it felt that the leaders at my old church had intended to harm us, but God intended it for good.

God was good.