In a nutshell, I love music. It so often shapes my mood. It helps me rest, teaches me to slow down, gives my heart a lift, enables me to see the world and my life a little bit clearer. It gives me perspective, and I feel so blessed to see and experience God and His handiwork via music. And I am not in one bit joking or being fluffy with my words, music truly does this for me. I have so many examples. Today, I’ll write about Coldplay.
I remember where I was when I heard my first Coldplay song. I was a highschooler, in the garage of our old house on Main Street, trying my best to look like I was busy organizing items for my mom’s garage sale whilst daydreaming about a boy I had yet to meet — the one who would notice me across the room, though he’d never seen me before that moment, and would come talk to me. I often daydreamed that scenario, wondering with each cute boy I encountered if it would happen, being disappointed when it didn’t. (Oh, I eventually got my moment — and what a moment it was!! That’s another story, I guess.) When I think about all those imagined scenarios, it seems beyond me that I would have NEVER categorized myself as a romanticist or a daydreamer until the past two years. Seriously. That garage moment (with the millions of others like it) screams romanticism. But also, now that I’m older and wiser (ahem), I know that romanticism includes more than just crushes and falling in love — its being a daydreamer and living in the clouds with the possiblities and the wonders of events yet to come. But I’m losing myself again in another story. What’s the point again? Coldplay? I promise to get back on topic.
So.. Coldplay. Yes, I was in the garage, pretending to do prep work like folding or labeling, and we were listening to the radio. It was sunny outside, I heard “Yellow” for the first time, and I instantly fell in love. I wanted to buy the album, but settled for a friend burning the song and a few others to CD. I eventually bought the album (“Parachutes”) as a sophomore in college, along with “A Rush of Blood to the Head”. (Was that really six years ago??) “Shiver” and “Amsterdam” became my new favorite songs. It was fall and the beginning of school. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of two years. My very serious, very bad-for-me boyfriend. I had been at a spiritual fork in the road, and I knew that if I didn’t end the relationship, I would be walking away from a full life in Christ. Something in me would die and perhaps never come back. God would exist on the peripheral of my life. This realization stunned me into an obedient life I had previously been too scared to follow through with. So I did it, and Lord Almighty, how I am thankful!! I cut my hair shorter than ever before, and loved it. (From then on, I always encouraged ladies on the fence to just chop it if they felt like it — it would grow back eventually, right?) Coldplay ushered me into a new era of growth. New friendships. New path of life. New major. New ME. New new new. I always listen to “A Rush of Blood to the Head” in fall now. In fact, I would actually say its difficult for me to listen to it when its warm and sunny. If someone asked me to put it in, I would make excuses as to why it doesn’t fit, and then I would put in Jack Johnson. That album just goes with cold weather. And fall. And when I hear it, I remember those days of my sophomore year, all that it entailed.
I got a pre-released burned copy of “X&Y” from my friend Lena before getting on plane to go to Japan for the summer in 2005. I listened to it alot while laying on a futon, sweating to death in the midst of my first (and I thought, last) Shizuoka summer. That summer was hard for me. I was in love with a man whom I thought could care less for my affections. I would have cut off my pinky if he asked. I wanted so badly to bear his babies, and he seemed to see me the same as the other girls. I cried a lot. I ended up asking God to tell me whether we would get married or not, because it seemed silly to wait for a man on such information when I could be privy to the thoughts of God. Eventually He told me, after the summer was over. That seems strange when I remember that it was also the summer when I was wondering deeply if God was really real — I mean actually asking that question in my heart. We studied Galatians as a team, and I remember thinking how fortunate Paul was to have had such a deep experience with Jesus, to have that to cling to when he was in dark moments of wondering. I started asking God for a moment like that, something that would make me believe He was really real, something I could use to fight doubts and lies when they came. I spent a lot of time in the Psalms, and more time crying. He eventually told me that faith was sort of the point of my whole relationship with Him. I remember thinking, “Ooooohhhhhhh…yeah.” From that point on, I stopped asking for a sign and entered a new place with Jesus. Those were really sweet days. I think of all that when I hear “X&Y”. Its a deep album for me, for deep thinking times. I don’t play it whilst making cookies or tickling Jones. In fact, I don’t play it much at all. Its on sabbatical.
“Viva la Vida” came out after we’d been living in Shizuoka for four or five months. The really rough time was over, but it was still the first year. I was still heavy with culture shock and trying to figure out Japan and whether or not I liked it. I remember a particular moment of listening to the acoustic version of “Lovers in Japan” (how appropriate) while driving to McDs for a little alone time one morning. It was sunny and I could see the mountains behind the buildings of Shizuoka. I felt happy. Really happy to be in Japan. I wrote in my journal that morning that it was the first time I felt thankful in my heart to be where I was, without all of the missing and all of the self-pity and all of the sadness. I love that song now. I love the whole album, more than any of the others. Its one I can listen to in any season, in any weather, in any mood, and it reminds me of my first year here — the biggest transition of my life, next to motherhood, and all the things God taught me and brought me through. So much healing has happened since I moved here, almost enough for me to recommend moving overseas as a (seriously twisted) therapy program. But don’t do it unless He tells you to.
Wow. Coldplay. What moments of my life wouldn’t have a soundtrack if you didn’t exist? What moments would’ve never occurred? I am a believer in the fact that all art has spiritual purpose, whether the artist created it with intentions of praising God or not. There are whispers of Him in all the artistic endeavors of the world, for He created us to be mini-creators. There have been few bands whose music has spoken to me more than Coldplay.
But there are a few.
More to come..