I don't think of myself as a savage beast, but there are times when the voices in my head cry out for the soothing music brings. Okay, so I don't really have voices in my head in the clinical sense but I think we all feel pulled in a million different directions at the same time more often than we wish. I don't know if it's like this for you but when I'm feeling especially fragmented it feels like every nerve in my body is raw and screaming. It's not uncommon to feel like I can actually hear these different stressors lecturing me about how I should be addressing their respective needs:
You should be exercising
Have you done the laundry?
Call your mom
You don't read enough. Didn't you just buy an expensive-ass Kindle?
Your wife needs your help around the apartment
Don't you think you're under your wife's feet enough?
You have 1,100 CDs and you haven't listened to _________ in how long?
Shouldn't you be writing something?
Did you lock the car? The door? Your cabinets at work?
Now most of those things are pretty mundane. My life isn't nearly as full or stressful or important as anybody else's out there. I'm sure plenty of you are skimming my list laughing, wondering what on earth I'm rambling on about with that nonsense. My response is twofold. First, that's not the entire list at any given time. Second, you're right. What's more, I know all those things can be handled. They can't all be handled at once and when I start thinking about them all, I feel a little piece of myself yearning for some calm and quiet. I shut down and don't want to do any of it. I need something to shut all those 'voices' up, just for a little while. Eventually the list – your list, my list – is going to have to be tended to. It can't be ignored forever. It will catch up. Before that happens, sometimes you just need a breath.
Phil Keaggy's “The Journey Home” has become one of my favorite breaths. There are no words of encouragement or wisdom in “Journey.” It's an instrumental. That doesn't stop me from finding much needed serenity and peace. When I listen to it, I can hear a story of a journey. There is a distinct beginning, middle, and end to this song. You can hear and feel the travel in the melody.
Most famous stories of quest are fraught with danger and conflict. “The Journey Home” doesn't feel that way. This is a tranquil, reflective voyage that ends at home. There's no tension in the music but there is such a beautiful release. You can feel the warmth and exhilaration at journey's end. It's not the obstacles faced and overcome that make this journey special. It's the destination. It's home.
“The Journey Home” is a story without words and when I hear it my mind grows quiet and I can breathe again. It doesn't simplify my life or tell me what to do when I feel lost and so far away from home, but it reminds me there is always a way back to it and I feel my heart swell with thankfulness as the stress melts from my mind.