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I’ve been thinking about the idea of my theme song. The idea, of course, is used to great effect in the funny Blaxploitation movie, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.  But I must admit I took the idea from the writing prompt at Lift  (I love that app and I love that community. I really recommend you try it.) Having your own theme song just sounds so cool. And it sounds like a good idea. So I started thinking about, what song would be my theme song?

Coincidentally, there was a song that I woke up this morning thinking about. I immediately downloaded it, because it didn’t seem to be in my iTunes music anymore. (But I’m not going to rant about that now…) It’s a song called “Why We Sing”  by Kirk Franklin and the Family. This song will stay in my head all day. Recently I was trying to explain to my World Rleigions students what I love about religion. I was telling them that religion is the only place I get such a feeling, a feeling connected to a community, an emotional experience that has me both crying and smiling, in joy and repentance, at the same time. It is possible for others to receive that feeling in other places, of course, but for me, I only get this pure of an emotional experience when I am in the presence of other practitioners and believers. So, this feeling I am describing is the feeling that comes over me when I listen to the song. The song describes an intense feeling of joy, that for the singers, comes from their faith. So I like this one, but I don’t think it’s my theme song.

Here’s another candidate. And this one is a little rougher than the first one. It’s called “Broken, Beat and Scarred” by Metallica. It’s a song that I first used as a workout song; the beat, the churning rhythm, was great in making me push myself in strength training. But the lyrics, I’ve realized, highlight some of my core thinking. Some of the lyrics are not good at all (having a bunch of dudes perform “They scratch me/They scrape me/They cut and rape me” in inexcusable). However, there is something powerful in the themes of the song. In particular, the lyric “You rise, you fall/You’re down then you rise again/What don’t kill you makes you more strong”. This might be one of my foundational themes – it is something that I truly believe. And I hope this is true. This thinking gives me hope. At times, I feel stuck in the “falling down” part, and I’m always hoping that there is a “rise again” part. Although the Metallica song has a message (and a beat) I like, it’s not as good as my actual theme song is.

I was recently listening to the music service called Songza when my song came on. (I would highly recommend this app. Out of all of the streaming music services this is easily my favorite. It plays music by mood and themes. Which is how I like to experience music.) I heard a song I hadn’t listened to in 10 years. It was “Optimistic” by the group Sounds of Blackness. I had forgotten how much I love this song, and how often I had used the song to lift my spirits. I truly believe in the message of the song. To “keep on” is important, to stay positive – Optimistic – is essential. Towards the end of the song, with the entire choir telling the listener, “You can win!”…I feel goosebumps just thinking about it. Such a message always makes a huge difference to me. If I can stay positive and stay focused on the important things in life, I will be okay. I will make it through. What is difficult in life is that sometimes that staying positive can seem like true labor, and bright times can feel distant. So the song is a reminder of my true thinking, my true self. If there is anything that is a theme song for me, that would be it. It’s a sentiment that gets me through some of the tougher times in life. Believing that we will get up.

So today, I keep my head to the sky. And I will have my theme song in my mind and on my iPhone today.

I’m really curious, what would be your theme song? What is the song that illustrates your ideals, your values, your identity? Please let me know, here, on Facebook, or email. I’d love to hear. Thanks.

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