Playlist February 25, 2008

As one who does not own an ipod I am in the minority in my family (and, it seems, in the world).

It’s not that I have a moral objection to ipods, it’s just-it seems overwhelming to me, this choosing of a personal soundtrack. Maybe that sounds ridiculous but it’s true: I watched dear friends Kevin and Elizabeth Hagan make an exhaustive list of music for their wedding, after all, and all I could think was that I was so relieved that task was not on my to-do list. It feels overwhelming to choose a soundtrack for your life.

But I had the sudden realization today that, ipod or no, we all create personal soundtracks, largely made up of the voices of people around us. Some voices are happy voices, of course . . . some critical, to be sure. What finally occurred to me was that, not unlike picking the music on an ipod . . . I can choose the soundtrack of my life. 

This can also be exhausting.

See, I don’t know about you, but I have a troubling tendency to skip tracks in my head to the negative, critical voices I hear, then set the player of my life’s soundtrack on repeat. Over and over and over I hear the angry or critical or hurtful words. Over and over the echo, louder and louder, until I’d swear there were no other words at all.

Words of love, tenderness, encouragement, challenge, praise? Nope, can’t hear them.

That’s some way to live, you know . . . opening your ears only to a negative soundtrack until the words echo, even in the silence . . . until they become the only words, and until I dangerously begin to believe they are the only truth in my life.

But I also just realized today: I don’t have to keep that negative soundtrack repeating. I can choose the soundtrack of my life. I can choose to fill my ears and my mind and my heart with good and helpful messages expressed in the voices of people whose lives challenge my living in positive, growth-inducing ways.

So, today I’m going back to the beginning, starting the playlist over one more time, moving to the top of the cue words and messages that push me to grow and that heal my battered soul.

I can choose the soundtrack of my life. Today, this is what I choose.

(Well, so much for my fear of ipods.  My husband Mark is helping me overcome this fear, starting with the gift of my very own red ipod for my birthday.  But here’s the best thing: he loaded all my music on the ipod and taught me how to use it, so now I really can choose the soundtrack of my life!)

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