I got an iTunes gift card recently, so I trawled around looking for new music to download. I ended up finding a lot of old music, which I owned on cassette tape once upon a time in the stone age (and those tapes are now in a landfill somewhere as I no longer have the ability to play them on anything). One of the albums which popped up was Amy Grant's Straight Ahead, with its simple white background featuring a vertical streetlight in the middle of the cover.
I loved this record as a young teenager. It was released in 1984, when I was twelve, just on the cusp of becoming a teen, and yet still holding on to childhood. I attended Christian school and would describe myself now as sheltered and fearful of the big, bad world. I listened solely to Christian artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. When Hungry Eyes came out in 1988 and was a monster hit, I felt pious when I refused to listen to its overtly sexy lyrics and closeted myself in my bedroom to listen to my "safe" Christian music.
I'm so glad that I don't subscribe to these ideas any more, and that my kids won't have to work these exact fears out of their system (I'm sure they will have others, but fear of what goes on in the entertainment world hopefully won't be one of them). It's not as though I regret listening to Christian music, because now when I hear these songs as an adult, I am overcome by memories of myself when I was young and innocent and just feeling my tentative way into the world, but I wish I hadn't been so afraid of everything that the world had to offer.
All of that to say, when I listened to Amy Grant's song Doubly Good to You yesterday, I bawled. Not gentle tears, but the kind of crying where you lower your head, and put your hands by your ears, and let it rip from somewhere deep inside. Music can unlock a door that we closed and bolted shut for a variety of reasons, but when we hear it, we can access those places again.
We can go back, and find that we still own those precious parts of ourselves. Our youth makes up a big part of who we are, no matter how incomplete of a picture it provides. It is still ours to own, and the music we listened to then can take us back and make us feel things we thought were long gone.
The chorus of this beautiful and stirring song says, "You can thank the father, for the things that he has done, and thank him for the things he's yet to do. If you find a love that's tender, if you find someone who's true, thank the Lord, he's been doubly good to you." I remember listening to this in my teens, yearning in that desperate manner of youth, hoping against hope that this would happen to me.
I realized yesterday that it has, above and beyond my wildest imaginings, and I bowed my head and thanked God. For all that he's done and all that he still plans to do. This concept of being between what's happened and what is going to happen is so inspiring to me. It's a good place to be in. I can look behind me and see all of the ground that I've covered, but when I look ahead, I know there is still so much to come. And it is not only good, but it's doubly good.
I want to look at my life with this phrase in my mind, for it stirs me to gratitude and thankfulness for the beauty and love that is all around me on any given day, and it's no good at all to me if I can't feel it and see it and be grateful for it.