Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Heartsong

Have you ever noticed how much music affects you; what sort of influence it has on memories you have and your life in general?

I know that, at least for me, music has a huge impact in my life. Music has the ability to instantly alter my mood. It is something that I usually take for granted. Most days find me humming my way through life. I hum in the halls and at lunch at the Jr. High. I hum in the car. I hum at the store. I hum while surfing the web. My life is one giant concert of humming.

Unless I am paying special attention, I don't realize I hum. I never realized what a problem it was until about two years ago when the 20-month old little girl I nannied for began humming all the time. She would hum to herself in the car, hum her dolls to sleep. I thought it was obnoxious until my mom pointed out that she probably learned it from me.

I am fully aware that my humming makes me sound like an idiot. The sad part is that most of the time, I do not hum melodies of songs. I harmonize. I am sure it does not help my I'm-not-crazy case.

Songs have the power to literally take me back in time, to a specific moment. I can usually remember smells, sights, sounds, feelings, etc. simply by hearing a song. For example, the song Starry Eyed Surprise by Paul Oakenfold reminds me of driving down 8th East in Orem with my friends Bonnie and Elizabeth. We (or I should say they) went tanning for Elzabeth's birthday. It's about 11:43 pm on a warm summer night. I am heading home, trying to make curfew because I was late the night before. I remember wondering how long those happy days of my youth would last, but knowing there was no way to answer that querie.

Lake Michigan, by Rogue Wave, takes me immediately back to Nauvoo, IL (or I should say the road above town) I've been gone for about 4 days, and am already incredibly homesick. I am stressed out at being in a situation where I have nearly no control. As stressed out as I am, I cannot help but notice the beautiful farmland we are driving through. It is quite lovely, and easy to imagine the early LDS saints fleeing from mobs across this very farmland.

Music has amazing powers. Whether it is the power to freeze a moment in time in your memory or the contagious humming, Music is amazing. Utterly Amazing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I sing you to me

That line is from Australia (the movie). The narrator said it constantly to Nicole Kidman's character. I absolutely adored the movie. It was a great movie, and I was crying pretty much constantly for the last half of the movie.

It was a really blunt look into the race struggles that Australia has had in the past. It was odd, to be honest, because it was set during WWII. When I think of the war and that whole era, I just assume that Australia was still an island full of convicts. There were several profound moments in the movie for me.

The first was when someone said something to the effect of to breed the black out of them! It was in reference to the island where they were sending kids who were 1/2 Aboriginee and 1/2 white ("Creamies"). That struck a chord with me because I realized that, had I been born just a few decades before I was (and obviously in Australia, too) I could have met a similar fate. Not because I had done something wrong, not because my parents had, but because Society as a whole looked down upon the mixing of the races.

That's the odd thing about society. We live in a free country. We are free to do pretty much anything that we want. The hold up comes when we do something that infringes on the freedom of someone else or something that society has deemed bad. Usually, all it takes is a few people to agree about any given point for it to become taboo. 12 jurors can decide the fate of one person. 9 judges interpret the constitution. We are free to choose our actions, but not free to choose the consequence. That's done by society as a whole.

I feel like I'm on a soapbox right now, but society once saw me as the product of some sort of deviant behavior on the part of my parents-Labeled an anomaly. It makes me think pretty hard about the types of labels I apply to others. I know that for myself, I understand the part in the movie where the narrator explains that he is a Creamie- He doesn't belong to the white man, and doesn't belong to the black man. He belongs to no one.

We often get on our high horses and preach about how much further we are from our racist, hate-filled grandparents/ancestors, but the truth is that we are not. Perhaps the hate is gone from the labels, but they still exist. When I am around white people, I am labeled as Tongan. When around Tongans, I am labeled white. Neither is willing to accept me blindly as one of them. I myself apply labels to people. Skin color is the most noticable characteristic you see. Maybe that's ok, as long as it is not acompanied by hate. Who knows.

The bottom line is that I could ramble on about this forever, but there's a line from the movie that I love.
Just because that's how it is, doesn't mean it should be.

I hope to be able to one day fully raise above the "labels" of our society. Someday, right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We acknowledge our dependence

I know this is a little late, but I wanted to blog about Thanksgiving nonetheless.

I read a quote in October about Thanksgiving by William Jennings Bryan (I have yet to Google him; I have no idea who he is or what he did) he said On Thanksgiving day, we acknowledge our dependence. Dependence is not a term that Americans take kindly to (dependence on foreign oil, dependence on foreign money, etc) we generally do not like to be dependent on anyone or anything. Dependence is like 4-letter word in the USA. We have gone to war several times to avoid that fate. So, when I read that, I was offended-until I thought more about the sacred meaning of dependence.

Thanksgiving is a day that we as a nation have set aside to acknowledge our blessings (and in some cases, our hardships) It is a time to rejoice and be grateful. An action word. Literally the act of giving thanks.

This Thanksgiving convinced me that Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday (even more than Christmas. Blasphemy, I know). I did not do anything spectacular, just the normal family together time. I didn't eat anything different. This year, it just meant something different to me, and I realized a lot of stuff. I realized that I am grateful for my family. I realized the blessing I have to be employed, to have insurance and security. I am extremely grateful to know that my family can be together forever. I realized that even without my Grandma, Thanksgiving can be an enjoyable family activity. I realized that, like the hymn says, I need [the Lord] every hour I am absolutely dependent on the Lord and his goodness. Nothing I have or will ever hope to have in my life would be possible without the Lord.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~H.U. Westermayer

I hope that I can follow the example of the Pilgrims and set aside time to give thanks for my blessings, and see the blessings in my hardships, too. I have so very much to be thankful for.