My little brother and I would boulder in the backyard before bedtime. We would stand tiptoe on the bottom fence board and our fingernails would turn white where we clutched the top board. We would peer over to see the neighbor’s side was smooth. We were lucky. Our side of the fence was the backside, the side with the boards that kept the structure together. We bouldered around that tall gray fence often.
Dad would often spin vinyl to fill our Wichita Falls home with music. Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever would pour through screen windows for the neighbors to hear. I vividly recall bouldering the fence to that album playing. Maybe that explains my Tom obsession.
Later, my brother and I would amateur “boulder” the cliff faces in our Montana backyards to the sound of tragic, bluesy Rolling Stones ballads.
For me, music weaves through place and memory. I recall the midnight train-ride west to Seattle when I listen to Alison Krauss’ New Favorite, or the stark, post-blizzard beauty of East Glacier when I listen to the first City on a Hill album.
Chris Tomlin’s “Good, Good Father” always takes me back fifteen years to Kila, Montana when only a cliff face and Highway Two separated me from my beloved Mount Haskill. Those were dark days – some nights so desperate you could feel the darkness. My family never talked about it.
So when I hear:
I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone
I think on those dark nights when God came near.
When I hear:
I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word
I think on those in my life in utter darkness, grasping for the light.
For me, that simple radio song is like an altar, established to remind me of God’s eternal faithfulness.
Music annoys us, moves us, takes us places. Sometimes music is God’s megaphone, or his whisper in the dark.
How does he speak to you through music?