12 December 2006

Who am I supposed to be?

Rosie Thomas' music is what it would sound like if my dreams had a soundtrack.

I recently purchased her latest album, If Songs Could Be Held, on iTunes, and there is something so amazingly beautiful about it, something so pleasantly haunting, that I simply can't stop listening. I've loved Rosie for awhile now, but this album takes the cake.

Here's a strange thing about Christine. For ten years or more, I've had these recurring dreams of different "scenes." I'm not really sure how to explain it but that I have the dreams every now and then at unpredictable times, and they so vividly evoke all of my senses that I can almost hear the sounds and feel the air on my face right now as I talk about them. For instance, one is a scene of a small yellow house in the south, and it's sweltering outside. I can see myself in a flowy skirt walking down the sidewalk in front of the house. I never go inside. I've passed by that house so many times in my dreams that I almost believe I've actually been there.

Then, when I first heard Rosie sing a few years back, something awakened deep in that untouchable place where I store my dreams. A soundtrack to my dreams. Someone I'd never met seemed to understand my innermost thoughts. And that is one of my favorite things about music...its power to draw the artist and the listener to each other in an identifying moment that occurs simply because they are both human.

A few nights ago, I had another one of those moments of clarity . You know how you sometimes drive to a familiar place "automatically," not really remembering how you got there? I was driving to meet my husband for dinner, and the plink of the piano keys and Rosie's haunting vocals were filling my car. Track 10 "had me" at the first piano chord. I turned it up. Having returned from Africa over a month ago, I've still had trouble explaining what it did to me...what being there did to change my life here and now, today. When I listened to "Death Came And Got Me," I heard the words that so perfectly explained my feelings (this battle I've been going through of who I'm supposed to be) even more than I, myself, could articulate.

I can't, I can't stop crying
Every day I’m so afraid, afraid of dying
Death already came and got me
Because I’m not living, I’m not living anyway

And who am I supposed to be?
Everybody seems to see, except for me
Who cares anyway?
Because when it’s over, it’s all over, and what you gain you throw away

When will love every find me?
All my life, all I’ve craved is to be seen
Who cares anyway?
Cuz when it’s over, all that matters it the love you gave away.

To me, it doesn't mean real "death" or the desire for an earthly love. I've already found love in my husband, and I do want to keep living on this earth for as long as I can. But that's also where the challenge lies. Sometimes I feel dead inside because I'm too in love with the world. Sometimes I truly feel that "death" came and got me, and I'll never be able to love like the One In Whose Image I Was Created. It disturbs me that a month after returning from Africa, I'm back into so many of my old ways...getting stressed about stupid things, being moody, caring too much about how things look or how I'm presented. What will it take for me to change? At the same time, although it sounds contradictory, I also have this sense of sadness over the fact that I'm starting to have a feeling of detachment as I struggle through these things. As I encounter God more by being led into countries and situations where I am at the end of myself, I realize I will never be the same again. And the more that happens, the less I feel like I really fit here in this world.

As I listen to the song again, it occurs to me that perhaps that's how it's supposed to feel...that it's in the struggle, rather than the solution, that I begin to truly find God.


Jeremy said...

What beautiful music!

Jenni said...

I clicked over to Rosie and noticed she did an album with Sufjan Stevens! I have to get it.

Wise insight, Stine. And, I've been dreaming a lot lately, too, mostly of people I care about. I wonder what my dream soundtrack is?

JCourt said...

I downloaded most of the compilation album with Sufjan and Denison Witmer after reading your thoughts here. The one you referenced isn't on emusic so I'll wait on it...

But the one I downloaded is phenomenal, cinematic, vivid, pictoral, memorable, homey, populated with wonderful places and people, etc. I love it. She is the exact kind of artist we love 'round this house. So thanks for the recommendation. And I love Sufjan to boot so this is a double treat.

I can hardly wait to hear If Songs Could be Held.

Is your husband back yet? It sounds like they had an amazing week!

All the best to you guys...

blue|sofa (JandJ)