I guess sometimes we hear songs and sing along with the words without really grasping the purpose of the lyrics that the songwriter intended. Some songs are really just nonsense, others just have no meaning, others love songs, etc, but some have meaning, some have a message and I guess for me in a period of my life when I was at my worst, I didn’t want any messages so I just heard words, I wanted to close myself off from the outside world, to just enjoy the company of a bottle of wine or can of cider.
Prior to turning my life around, I can safely say I did everything possible to avoid church, religion, Jesus, God, etc, I had never walked into a Church purely because I wanted to. So I guess it now seems odd that in 2008 I started listening to Christian rock music and was listening to it more and more when my life started to unravel at the end of 2009, when everything started to descend into darkness through my increased drinking and I guess depression.
On the 19th March 2012, I started the day with a phone call, which in turn started the snowball, that is my recovery, rolling. I met with my now Pastor, confessed my downfall and started to put into place the steps that would lead to my recovery.
The next day though, something happened to me that at the time I couldn’t explain, just coincidence maybe? The day was a lot more positive than I expected, I felt free of some of the weight of my problem, that I had shed part of the load by sharing it with others, I was singing Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” to myself most of the day, you know the bit that says “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways”, I was making changes and I was starting with me, today.
But that night, as I was teaching karate, I started getting these messages in my head, that I must listen to “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North, it wouldn’t go away, it was like a woodpecker was hammering at my head, you must listen to this song TONIGHT, you must listen to this song, over and over again! So classes finished at 10pm, I went over to the pub with one of the lads, had a couple of pints, instead of my usual four, at this stage I had stopped drinking at home and reduced my intake at the pub, I was just starting to do something about my problem, so as I walked home I put the song on my iPod.
This song had been on my iPod for two years, I had listened to it many times, I liked the song and I liked the band’s music, but even though I had sung along to it many times, I hadn’t really heard the words, I hadn’t absorbed them and figured out their relevance to my life. Well I can certainly say that I heard the words that night, when I heard those first few lines that was it, I was broken, I was walking home crying as I walked, not just silent tears, a complete outburst of emotion, I must have looked a right sight to any passing cars!
Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear
(Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North)
That night I played the song on constant repeat, over and over again into the early hours of the morning, these lyrics perfectly described what I had been doing over the last 2/3 years, I had been putting on a show for everyone and hiding behind walls, to me I was hiding within a shelter with walls made of glass bottles and a tin can roof, it was truly time to let the walls come down, to let some light meet my darkness.
The next morning, when my alarm went off the first thing I did was to reach for my iPod and play Healing Begins again, I played it over and over again. That night I managed to get through the night without the urge to drink and after playing the song yet again, I prayed for the first time, prayed for the strength to get through this, to start living again.
Over the coming weeks, I played that song first thing every morning and the last thing before I went to sleep at night, it was my anthem, my guide, my reminder of what I had been and my reminder of where I was going, that night the light certainly collided with my darkness and the sparks were definitely starting to fly.
So why this urge, why that night, why that song, what was happening here, I took a few months to work it out, but eventually I did, that was no coincidence, it was and could only be a message from God, I truly believe he wanted me to listen to that song, that night, he made sure of it, it was there to guide me to him and find a life with him, a better life.
So, have any of you had urges to listen to a certain song, a song that then changes your life? Or have you had these messages, but ignored them?