I am a Thief

I’ll be the first to admit that I love reading the eloquence which others can wield with words.

Yesterday, I was uniquely struck by a post I read on FB. It was written by a high school classmate who I didn’t know well and only connected to on FB because he was a “friend of a friend.” In the past several years of our FB “friendship,” I have come to respect this man’s thoughts and the manner in which he shares them, i.e., unabashedly and without apology.

Part of me wishes that I’d known him in high school. This, of course, presumes that he was as interesting then as he is now. Part of me is happy that I didn’t form any impression of him from “back then.” For if I had, I might not have been able to reframe his persona in my mind twenty years later.

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Here’s what I stole:

Had a strange feeling listening to music tonight, like, I don’t want to ever die. I don’t want any time I listen to this song to be the last time I hear it. I don’t want to stop feeling the feeling it gives me.

You’re a teenager and your body is flooded with chemicals that tell you that life is magic, and this is how it’s going to feel to be a grownup. Then you grow up and you’re actually glad to not be a teenager any more, because you understand so much more about love and life and meaning.

But some songs, some songs remind you that Life cheated you. Cheated you out of feeling like a goddamn Magic factory.

When I imagine dying, I wonder if I will have a nanosecond – amidst longing for the hearts I’ll leave behind – to think of the music I may never hear again, may never need again.

His words hit me.


My reaction was two fold.

Number 1:

I love music. I wake up with songs in my head and sing whenever the radio is on. I believe that musicians purposefully put their tracks in a particular order on their albums, and as such, I regard “shuffle” as an offense to the creative process. As a child, I was taught how to read music and some music theory. Harmonizing, even to Mr. Cobain, is something I do. A middle-aged woman playing the “air guitar” and drumming the steering wheel might look ridiculous: I don’t care. The mere experience of music makes my blood pressure go down and my happiness level tick up.

Number 2:

The word “music” could be replaced by any other thing a person has come to appreciate. I use that word, “appreciate,” purposefully. “Love” would have been too shallow of an emotion. “Appreciate” plumbs a depth which, in my opinion, necessarily includes a sense of gratitude.

It is awe inducing for anyone to find something so personally meaningful that his/her concurrent appreciation yields a desire never to lose one’s sensory faculties.

The appreciated object could be a sight, a smell, a touch, a taste.

For my deep-thinking, aural FB friend, it is a sound.

Later this afternoon, when I’m making dinner, there will be cd playing — from beginning to end, in order — in the stereo. It could be Dave Matthews, INXS, or Neil Young. Maybe it’ll be Indigo Girls or Crowded House. Rush, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, the Beastie Boys. I have an eclectic selection hanging on my kitchen wall.

Whatever it is, I assure you that I’ll be listening with grateful and appreciative ears. Both for the experience and the person who so skillfully described why listening means so much.

Thanks HH.

6 thoughts on “I am a Thief

  1. What’s the old Saw? “Music hath power to soothe the savage beast?” It also has power to enthuse, arouse, pacify, mobilize, uplift, glorify, worship and so much more. Music is a life critical element. When I was a boy I had a speech impediment, stuttering! So bad that I could not converse. A brilliant teacher taught me that when you sing you do not stutter, so I sang and have loved music ever since. The calibration of brain and tongue provided a start to the curing of stuttering. While my favorite musical genres may be different than others, I am thankful for the fact that we all have a choice, whether it is Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner or the Eagles or Clapton, they all serve a purpose. I can use music to augment a feeling that I like or use music to completely change my mood. When I worship, the host of liturgical music, both ancient and modern, lifts me out of myself to a higher plane which is where I need to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never been great at the creative process, but I believe my ability to be moved by the various senses is wonderful. Listening to music or viewing the greatness of nature can bring smiles, dance or tears. I feel badly for those who lack this gift of appreciation. They are missing so much.
    Music should be part of every home and also the schools. That so many of the “arts” have been removed is so short sighted….

    Liked by 1 person

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