I will never claim that I can sing well.
In fact, I’ve been told by numerous people on numerous occasions that I should probably limit my singing to the shower and the car – when I’m alone.
I’ve heard their complaints, but I can’t help constantly belting out whatever song comes to mind.
Sometimes, my outbursts are prompted by a conversation that contains the lyrics to a song. Sometimes they are prompted by a situation. And often, they are prompted by a memory or emotion.
Despite my lack of musical ability, I live as though my life has a soundtrack of songs that represent a moment or a person I can never forget. On occasion, I even append my soundtrack with a song that I haven’t heard in decades.
And so it was a few weeks ago when I was sitting around a campfire at a work retreat. Having been in both 4-H and Girl Scouts growing up, I thought everyone knew camp songs.
With apologies to no-one, a co-worker and I tried to lead the group. We failed miserably.
But I had fun as the memories associated with the songs came flooding back. Ironically, the one that made me feel most nostalgic was about appreciating the present.
As a teenager, I became life-long friends with a girl named Sandy from Wyoming. We met one summer when we were assigned the same host family during a Girl Scout Wider Opportunity. For whatever reason, we became fast friends. While I don’t remember if she was a better or worse singer than I was, I clearly remember the joy we had singing John Denver’s “Today.”
At the time, we realized that we had limited time to spend together and made “Today” our theme song.
And yet, I never added it to my soundtrack until this summer… a summer when I’ve thought a great deal about the passage of time.
Maybe that’s because next summer my son will leave for college.
Maybe it’s because my daughter, my youngest, has now started high school.
Or maybe it’s because I was already in college when my mom was my age, and, at the time, I thought she was well past her prime while I’m still wondering what I’ll be when I am a true adult.
For whatever reason, I’ve realized how incredibly precious today is.
The Beatles classic “Yesterday” may have been more popular than John Denver’s song, and “Tomorrow” is known by every little girl who dreamed of being on Broadway.
But life is really all about “Today.” We can’t change or go back to yesterday. We can plan and hope for tomorrow, but we certainly can’t enjoy it.
Which leaves us only with today to thoroughly experience all of the joy, sorrow, silliness, beauty, and complete randomness that life always provides.
My soundtrack may be my full of music from all of my yesterdays, but adding “Today” is a reminder of how to live right now.