I‘m co-hosting The Lino Rulli Show on SiriusXM while Lino’s in Austin this week, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to let you all do the talking!
As a special treat for this week, I’ve saved a question I’ve wanted to ask you all forever: What are your theme songs?
What I mean by “theme song” is a song that reminds you vividly of a specific time in your life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a favorite song, or even a song whose lyrics you find perfectly edifying — just a song that you will forever connect to a specific memory.
This is a great way for me to discover new music, because I have this weird quirk where I tend to like a song more when I know it’s meaningful to someone else. I’ll begin by sharing a few of mine:
WRITING THE BOOK: Viva la Vida by Coldplay
I first heard this song around the time I began writing Something Other than God. The song is about a person who once wanted to rule the world, and now sees that all of his “important” accomplishments are ultimately meaningless, so it was the perfect writing music for this story. I have always thought of it as the book’s official theme song, and every time I hear it I think of the crazy, wonderful, absurd process of writing the book.
THE NICU: Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, 2013 was a tough year for us: I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in both lungs) during my sixth pregnancy. Even after I got back from the hospital, I could hardly function because I couldn’t breathe well. When the baby was born, he had tears in his lungs — unrelated to my own condition — and ended up getting transferred to a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where he stayed for almost two weeks.
I’ve mentioned that one of the big issues is that we couldn’t hold the baby for the first few days of his life, and that that was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through.
One night, at around 11:30 PM, I was making the 30-minute drive from my house to the NICU, and Mumford and Sons’ Lover of the Light came on the radio. The lyrics Breathe in / breathe out jumped out at me, since not being able to breathe seemed to be a theme of the year in our family. But when they broke into that crescendo where they belt out, Love the one you hold, the image of holding someone you love hit me right in the gut. I started sobbing so hard that I had to pull the car over.
It’s ultimately a positive memory since the baby and I both recovered, but every time I hear that song it puts me right back on Parmer Lane in Austin, driving my car through tears, late at night, to visit the baby whom I couldn’t hold.
BELIEVING IN GOD: King Without A Crown by Matisyahu
In late 2005, I had come to believe that God exists, but I didn’t know where to go from there. I felt completely lost, yet hopeful against all odds that somehow this would work out.
We were living at my mom’s house, and my only child, then one year old, never slept through the night. I woke up one morning, utterly exhausted, and quickly flipped on the television in hopes of finding something that would entertain my son. I happened to switch it to MTV, and they were playing the video for King Without A Crown by Matisyahu. I was fascinated to see a religious song on the station, and completely intrigued by the idea of an orthodox Jewish rapper.
When I heard the words THANK YOU TO MY GOD THAT I FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT, my heart instantly and unexpectedly swelled with joy. I still had more questions than I had answers, but in that moment I was sure that this God this was going to work out. Like Matisyahu, it felt like after a life of searching, I had finally gotten it right.
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Now I’d love to hear about your theme songs! Tell us the name of the song, the artist, and the story of what it’s meaningful to you.
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