Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Untangling Knots and Tying Strings

I woke with a start.  I scooched to the edge of my bed and squinted my eyes as I tried to make out the numbers on the clock.  The digits glowed a dim orange but it was still a few seconds before my tired eyes adjusted to the light.  Still, it wasn’t time.  I continued to stare at the clock and tried not to fall asleep. 

I don’t believe it was every night but in my memories it seems like it was.  I was about nine years old.  I would stay up and wait for my favorite radio program to come on.  It probably started somewhere around ten o’clock.

After what seemed like ages it was finally time.  I readjusted my pillows, my blankets, and tried to shove our big dog away from me.  I turned the volume down low so that my sister wouldn’t wake and laid perfectly still so as not to make the tiniest noise.  Out of the speakers came the eeriest of sounds.  Outer space music.  It made me feel small and made my young mind ask questions.  What is out there? How big is God? Where is Heaven? Are aliens real? The surreal sounds would take me to an entirely different world; Sometimes it was frightening, sometimes I would get lost, and sometimes it was breathtaking – Always, it was filled with wonderment. 

Starry Night has always been my favorite Vincent van Gogh piece. This painting expresses exactly the way the outer space music made me feel.



Flash forward about two years and you will find me sitting In the back seat of our suburban.  It is night.  I crane my neck to look out the window and try to catch a glimpse of a few of the stars through the cracks of the clouds as they blow by.  The moon is bright.  My nose gets cold.  The smell of winter pierces through the walls of the vehicle and envelopes me.  Mom has a CD playing praise music and I can hear my family happily talking about some silly thing but I ignore them because I still remember what had happened just a few minutes before.

They were shouting, my parents and my older brother.  About what, only God knows.  They were always fighting these days and it seemed I could never get away from it.  After the argument Mom turned on the CD and the vehicle grew silent.  It was uncomfortable.  The silence was always unbearable.  After a few minutes one of my other siblings was brave enough to say something.  My parents were hungry to latch onto anything to talk about to take away the silence.  Soon the whole suburban was talking and even laughing at times.  I just sat in silence. 

Looking out the window I see stars and hear the music, my thoughts wander away from the fight and I think about God.  It felt just like those nights in my room back in South Carolina when I listened to the outer space music.  Tonight I was lost.

Those times were hard for me.  It was filled with a lot of shouting and yelling.  A lot of silence.  So many tears.  Anger.  An innumerable amount of long car rides.  And music.  Every time we drove anywhere – me, my Mom, and my two younger siblings – we would play music.  There had to be something to cover up the silence.  Even today, when I hear some of those songs, I am instantly swept back to those tumultuous years.

Music has been one of the few constants in my life.  It’s been there from the beginning.  I remember sneaking out into the hallway after bedtime to listen to my dad play and sing at the piano.  Eventually the floor would get too cold and hard and I would sneak back to my bed to fall asleep listening to the same old songs. 

As the years go by my passion for music has evolved from the simple delight of a young girl into a heartfelt desire to use music to help others overcome difficulties the same way it has helped me.  At the University of West Florida I plan to earn a degree in music performance.  This first step will help me to become a music therapist in the future or simply a more proficient church musician.  The further instruction I would receive as a music major, regardless of what direction I choose afterwards, will be indispensable.  I find solace in music and if I can bring that music to others, whether it be through services at church or through private therapy sessions, I know it will make a difference.  UWF for me will be an anchor where I can tie all the loose strings from my life - music, my instinct to protect, my heart for others pain - and bring those strings together into a strong cord ready to offer someone who is trying to get a grip on life.

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This is the personal essay I sent in to University of West Florida as part of the admissions process. I have been writing lately about the way college is going to change my life, about how I am completely shocked at how I've gotten this far, but I've never taken any time to tell y'all why I am going to college. I figured I should since I have been opposed to the idea for so long and now seemingly out of the blue I've completely changed my mind. In reality it hasn't been such a sudden change - I've been thinking about it for a while and little by little I've changed my mind about it. I think that is a good thing. A willingness to change, as long as it is for the right reasons, is a valuable character trait in my mind. After all, we're only human and can't possibly know everything.

Blessings and Peace,
Elise  

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad that I found you. Sharing your thoughts/testimonies can be very healing for you and for others. I appreciate your honesty and rawness in what you write. College, when seeking the will of the Father, can be a very good thing. Be strong and stay focused on Him, and it will be another blessing to count.

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    1. I am glad you found my blog! Thank you for your kind words. :)

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