looking through me

Tag: seasons

writing music

This morning I popped in my headphones and found an album I haven’t listened to for seven years.

The last time I played it the lights were off and thirty-some squirrelly fourth grade students sat stone still in anticipation. They had earned the opportunity to listen to it, and they didn’t want to blow the chance.

I remember scanning their faces as I prepared to hit play and thinking, “I have done many things wrong as a teacher, but this right here is sweet victory.”

For the third year in a row I had nine and ten year olds begging to listen to Mozart.

The lights are on today. I’m standing at a desk three hundred miles away and those students are (hopefully) juniors and seniors in high school. And the first students—the initiators of the classical music reward system—should be high school graduates.

My teaching days are behind me, but my reason for listening is the same today. It’s time to write and words have been few. Life has been loud and unruly. Stillness has been elusive. I need inspiration. I need to be transported by beauty to another place. I need music written hundreds of years ago to create fresh imagery once again, and it will. It always does.

In my classroom, classical music taught us how to listen and find our words: how does this make you feel? what do you see in your mind when you hear it? what story is it telling?

And, today, I am still finding words and exercising my writing muscles under the tutelage of Mozart.


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thrill of hope

One line of one song keeps running through my mind. It’s a song I listen to a disproportionate number of times each December, but I don’t ever remember these particular words sticking with me like this.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

A thrill of hope. A thrill. A sudden sharp feeling of excitement. A shivering, tingling sensation.

What last thrilled me?

Was it hope? Something desired with expectation of obtainment?

Have I ever felt the thrill of hope—the sudden tingle of excitement caused by the confident expectation of a desire’s imminent reality?

And the juxtaposition of a thrill of hope with the weary world. I’m sure the world was weary before Jesus was born. It makes logical sense. But I know the world is weary now. We wear our exhaustion, our despair, our fatigued patience for all to see. It’s in the lines of grief and anger and heartbreak creasing faces on the news and in the line at the grocery store and in conversation about the politics of this nation and world.

But the thought of a thrill of hope that would cause our weary world to rejoice . . . it’s almost inconceivable. A singular hope shared and realized across all humanity.

That’s what rent time from before Christ to anno Domini. That’s the night divine. That’s what broke with the morn.

New and glorious indeed.

As I sit in the waiting of Advent I listen to the song on repeat, and I pray that line breaks true in hearts this Christmas.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices . . .



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