My headphone are currently jammed in my ears in a crowded Starbucks in south Florida. The sun lowered just enough to come glaring in the window, causing me to squint my eyes at the exact moment the opening bar of “Rain” by Patty Griffin played in my ears. And suddenly I’m in Dayton, Ohio, scurrying to get ready for a shift at Bath & Body Works, humming along with Patty as the notes drift from my roommate’s computer speakers to my ears.
There’s nothing that takes me back like music. And this moment, this memory, I’d relive in a heartbeat… so much so that I almost don’t want to open my eyes again. It’s bittersweet to have lived a season so precious, so instrumental in my growth as a person, yet have moved on as life does and now feel so removed from the people who were once the most important in my world.
The same thing happens when I hear Ashlee Simpson. I’m in my best friends little blue Sunfire, driving through the streets of our hometown with the windows down and not a care in the world beyond what we would wear to the football game that weekend. Or when I hear Dave Barnes’ first album, and I’m back in my college dorm with Rachelle, Katie & Steph, laughing and studying and living in way too small of a space for 4 girls, but loving (mostly) every minute. The sound of Keith Urban’s voice takes me right back to the season in the first few years after college where I felt the most loved & supported & known, the late night phone conversations and early morning text messages in the cool, gulf breeze.
I could go on and on, listing song after song or artist after artist that is so strongly associated with people or memories or seasons. And, for a nostalgia junky like myself, it’s so fun to remember.
But as Patty played in my ears tonight and I felt the achey pang of missing those moments, wanting to go back, wishing I had cherished them more, wishing I had done ____ differently, said this or that, valued that person more, etc., it struck me that even now, in this moment, I’m creating the memories I’ll look back on down the road. I don’t know what songs or artists I’ll associate with this sunshiney state, these beautiful friends who have loved me unbelievably well, these students who have captured my heart, the long drives, the event planning, the sunsets on the water… but I do know that as my time here is nearing an end, I want to slow down and enjoy it more. To breathe the sea air more intentionally, drink more coffee at my favorite Starbucks, spend more time with my people, snag more hugs from my favorite kiddos, and really be present, even though it would be so easy and natural to disengage.
What a treasure that the Lord created seasons, both the ones on the calendar and the ones of the heart. Things to anticipate, things to reflect on, each one contributing to nudging us further along on the path God has laid out for us.