The playlist

Photo taken on the day that I sang again. 

Music has always played a significant role in my life. I grew up playing piano and singing.

Singing to my baby brother.
Singing in front of my dad's camera.
Singing in school choirs.
Singing in college.
Singing on my church worship team.
Singing in the car.
Singing to Ethan before he was born.
Singing to Ethan as he took his final breaths.

After Ethan died, I stopped singing.

It wasn't that I lost my love of music. It was that I simply couldn't. Singing suddenly felt so intimate, so personal and so difficult.

A few months passed and I opened my mouth to sing again.

Nothing came out. Instead, I choked back a sob. I just couldn't do it.
So I closed my eyes and let the music wash over me, as the tears fell.

I decided to own it. I made a playlist of sad songs. Sad songs that spoke to my heart. When it rained, I listed to my sad song playlist. I allowed myself to cry. Really cry, without abandon.

As the tears fell, they watered my dry, aching heart. The music and the tears spoke the words that I couldn't say. The prayers that I couldn't articulate. The feelings that I couldn't express.

Over time, more songs were added to the playlist. Sad songs that carried a twinge of hope. Songs that spoke about healing. Songs that spoke about smiling.

Months have passed since then and my heart has begun to heal. Oh yes, it still hurts. But I'm finding joy. I'm smiling. I'm laughing. I'm dancing. I'm singing.

Last week, I found myself singing in the car. Not just quietly mumbling along to the radio. I mean belting out every word, while the driver in the car beside me chuckled at my performance.

When I finally realized what I was doing, I surprised myself. How did I get there? How did this spontaneous karaoke performance erupt as I sat in traffic?

By allowing God to minister to my heart. By riding the waves of grief and allowing the music to be used as a catalyst for healing. For allowing myself to truly feel every ache, every glimmer of hope, every desperate moment and every joyful praise.

See Ethan's playlist here. 

Psalm 71:23 
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you-- 
I whom you have delivered.