Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Climb Every Mountain

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The other night I watched part of the 1965 movie, The Sound of Music. Its songs have provided me with several pleasant little earworms, such as Climb Ev'ry Mountain by Rodgers and Hammerstein. These words keep soaring through my mind:
Climb ev'ry mountain, ford ev'ry stream,
Follow ev'ry rainbow, 'til you find your dream.

A dream that will need all the love you can give,
Ev'ry day of your life, for as long as you live.

Climb ev'ry mountain, ford ev'ry stream.
Follow ev'ry mountain, 'til you find your dream.
After watching this movie, I reflected on its place in Western history and my own life. As a white, middle-class, post-war baby-boomer, I grew up with optimistic television and "nice" values. Despite being raised and abused by a war-veteran father who I now believe may have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a nervous homemaker mother, I absorbed the hopeful ideals and views of my time and place. Walt Disney's "...and they lived happily ever after" sums up the ideal pretty well.

By the time I was a young teenager, which is when The Sound of Music film came out, I was a veteran of years of sexual abuse by several people. I needed hope badly. I needed something to believe in, some inspiration to pull me forward into adult life. Songs such as Climb Ev'ry Mountain and the film story that surrounded it provided some of that inspiration.

Somehow I found ways to believe in "happily ever after" for people in general (though not yet for myself). Through music and story, my own feelings were stirred. I came, so slowly, to believe that if I climbed the mountains in front of me I would find my dream. I certainly didn't consciously think in those terms, since I acted like a pretty normal teen, but hindsight reveals my young beliefs to me. I was an idealistic, painfully poetic adolescent and young woman.

But you know what? I recognize today that no matter how hokey those ideals (and the songs and movies that inspired them) may seem to some, they have helped me move forward. They have fueled my dreams. I'm finally old enough to be only slightly embarrassed by my enjoyment of sentimental, sweet stories and songs.

I'm finally old enough to see how music and story help me sing my own life.

What helps you sing your life? Who and what have inspired and shaped you? Make time to notice and savour those gifts. Sing your songs. Craft your dreams. Work out your own rhythm.

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