If you love music like I do, you can think of a song and probably point to specific memories, like for example, what you were doing, where you were, and who you were with. Music has that effect on us. Sports does the same thing, particularly football where I’m from. Really anything that crystalizes memories in our minds does it. It takes the magic of a moment, and memorializes it forever. The night I graduated from high school, I rode around town with two of my good friends Josh and Tory. Jagged Edge’s “Where the Party At?” kept playing on what seemed like every radio station. It was crazy. We stayed out all night and we heard that song at least 25 times it seems. Now, I can’t hear that song and not think about that night. In a twist of irony, we did actually party hop all night trying to find the “perfect” graduation party and ended up closing out the morning at an IHOP as the sun came up reminiscing about our adventure the night before. I’ll never forget that night, even though I have no pictures and no video evidence of it.
I’m the type of person who loves to relive moments. I live in the land of nostalgia. I think I get it from my father, he’s a pretty nostalgic person. Neither of our memories usually serve as accurate recollections of events so we need other ways to document what happens. So, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been one for making scrapbooks (pre-social media), writing journals, and attempting to capture moments.
The day Samantha and I discovered we were pregnant, I brought a video camera. This was back before the days of phones replacing cameras. I was so excited, I planned to record everything. Now, over a decade later, I have at least 250+ videos of our now family of 6, with tens of thousands of pictures and countless hours of unedited video footage. And what brings it all together? The soundtracks.
Last night since I was in a bit of a funk, I did what we normally do in our household when we need a pick me up: I turned up the bass and we had a dance party. And we broke out all the classics that took us down memory lane.
There was Mario’s Just a Friend which reminded us of freshmen year when we were dating.
There was Genuine’s Differences and Bobby V’s Slow Down which reminded us of watching Midnight Love on BET late nights in my dorm room.
There was Ja Rule’s Always on Time…a constant road trip anthem.
There was Jay Z and Alicia Keys Empire State of Mind…which reminded us of our trips to NYC- we’ve taken a few memorable ones, but this one in particular was right after our first daughter was born and Samantha joined me at the end of a conference and we spent the weekend hanging out with friends and enjoying our first trip away as new parents.
There was T.I.’s Live Your Life, which became my personal anthem, and marked a comeback of sorts as I started to become serious about my professional career.
The list goes on. And these are just the secular songs we danced to last night. Since we’re both church kids, our expansive life soundtracks includes a ton of gospel. In fact, we just watched The Clark Sisters movie (chronicling a game-changing gospel music family), and we had plenty of, “this song reminds me of…” moments.
Here’s the thing, right now sucks in a lot of ways. People are dying. Our lives are turned upside down. It’s hard to have a ton of hope when every other news report begins with the title “our new normal” or “nothing will ever be the same” or “just go ahead and give up now”. Well, maybe they’re not that drastic, but you get the point. One day we’re going to look back on this season and remember something. What do we want those memories to be? All sad? Is there any intentionality we can have, any way we can properly memorialize what’s happening to us?
I believe we have some choices, though not all good memories will stay the same and sometimes bad moments end up creating positive memories down the road. Five years ago my friend Josh died of cancer, and now it’s hard to hear that Jagged Edge song, but it’s still a poignant reminder of a special time. Today, while it’s difficult to live in a world where I can’t really plan for the future, there are more than a few positives that I have to look forward to. Samantha reminded me the other day that I haven’t made a family video in a while. I’ve still been taking lots of photos and video footage.
I have so many other pics of moments just like these. They tell a different story of what’s happening right, a story that I might miss if I’m focusing on just the bad. Perhaps it’s time to dust off my editing skills and look at the last 6 weeks through a different lens. Now all I need to do is find the right soundtracks.