Thursday, November 3, 2016

Get Me Through This

I've got a lot on my mind these days. And I know you do too, even if it's for different reasons.

But I worry. About so many things.

In fact, I look around me at the rapid decline in Redding over the past five years, and it worries me. Every time I see herd of scruffy looking individuals camped out on the benches outside my office asking passersby for spare change, I worry. It wasn't like this 10 years ago. Will it get better, or this is the new normal? Will it get worse? I wonder if its like this in every community across our country, or if it's particularly bad in Redding.

I've never been more worried for the future of my country. With every scroll down my news feed or Facebook (or worse, my husband's Facebook feed), I see people spewing forth vile, hateful crap. Doesn't matter which side of the political fence you're on, right now both sides are flinging it fast and furiously, and I wonder, will it get worse? Will I wake up next Wednesday and feel like I've got a brighter day to look forward to, or should I start stocking up on canned goods just in case we go to war? I'm not as worried about World War III, but another Civil War? For the first time in my life, I feel like we're on the brink of something.

I watch the national news reports about protestors and police clashing over the Dakota Access pipeline looming large over the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, and I worry about how our country has given corporations priority over human beings. I'm convinced the outcome of next week's election won't change that one bit. And that worries me.

In our own town a young mother goes out for a jog and disappears, and I worry about what has happened to her. I worry about her husband and her children and all the other people who love her and are desperate to find her. I start thinking about all the other people who have gone missing in the past few years and have never shown back up (Baby Ember Graham, Cort Jones and Heather Cameron). It makes me worry even more about my own daughter, and I fight the urge to check in with her every hour to make sure she's okay.

I need to find a way to stop the worrying, and for me, music is the key that opens the door to transport me somewhere else to a fantasy land where I don't have to wring my hands over anything.

So I went to my friends, and asked them for some help to come up with today's playlist, to help "Get Me Through This." Because that's what friends are for. I asked them for a song - or two - that never fails to transport them to a better place. I didn't specifically say why, so I got all kinds of song flavors to mix into the recipe. Songs that help us dance away our worries, songs that provide hope and meaningful inspiration. Some songs bring back memories of carefree days of high school, others of sweet love affairs of the past. Some are songs that lift us up spiritually, and others that just float you off into a dreamlike music coma. And some are just pure silliness. But if you've ever had a truly shitty day that was knocked off the rails by a good belly laugh, well, then you understand why "Henry VIII" (bless you Denise) is just as valid as either of the amazing versions of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" that made it onto the list.

When I sat back and looked at the friends who took the time to tell me about the songs that had special meaning for them, I was astounded when I realized who had responded. I heard from friends that span my entire lifetime. From my very first friend (and next door neighbor) from birth, to friends from grade school, junior high and college. Friends from Oregon, Alaska and California. I  heard from other writers whom I respect, relatives whom I love, and friends who are planning to vote for the other guy, but I'll still love them come next Wednesday.

I realized something else that made me take a big breath in and hold it for a good long time. Four of the friends who shared their songs with me have recently lost their own children tragically and unexpectedly, and somehow they got through it. Well, they're still getting through it. When a parent's worst nightmare comes true, I don't think it's ever really over. You just keep moving on. Another four have recently lost a parent, a sister, or a spouse. And here they are, lifting others up with music.

So I hope you'll take the time to listen to today's playlist, especially if you've got worries of your own, and carry some heavy burdens on your shoulders. Maybe these musical friends can lift you up for a while, and take you away to a better place, even if it's only until the music's over.

And while you're thinking about getting through whatever you're going through, let me know what songs help move you past your worries and to a better place. Because we need more of that. I think no matter who you've voting for on Tuesday, we can all agree on that.

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