I've always been someone who has been highly affected by music. This is a pretty obvious statement. But I was reminded recently that there is a connection between music and my emotions that is really strong...and beyond what I can predict or understand sometimes. (I am going to sound like a total girl in this post, but I have decided that I am okay with that.)
There are songs that affect me because of their lyrics, and there are songs that affect me because they remind me of a certain experience or time in my life. There is music that affects me because of its composition or because of the back-story of the person that wrote it. Most of the time, if there's a song that I like, I can generally describe why I like it.
But there are a handfull of songs/music that have an inexplicable connection to my emotions. It's usually immediate - and takes me by surprise. One strong example of a song that "gets me" almost every time I hear it is "Amie" by Damien Rice. The string part in particular (at the end)...it's just...tragic and beautiful. (If you look on my last.fm page, it's the most-listened to song...I'm a glutton for emotion!)
I was reminded of this most recently because of a random Christmas song. I went with a group from church to Willow's Christmas service last year. We wanted to go - partly to be able to worship together (since most of us would be leading Christmas services) and partly because it's generally encouraging to go to a Willow service. In the middle of the service, they sang a song - and their dance team performed with it. And by the first chorus, I was a mess - weeping in my chair in the middle balcony. And it wasn't really because I had intellectually pondered the incarnation (although that is amazing). The combination of the music and the dance hit something inside me, and that was it. Well, I found the song this week - "Here With Us" by Joy Williams. And listening to it, I'm taken back to that moment when I was watching the dancers express "hallelujah" and sobbing.
There's a tendency to dismiss emotion because it can be unreliable and sometimes it does not coincide with logic/reason. Goodness knows I'm aware of the instability of pure emotion. But at the same time, I'm really grateful that God has given us things like music and dance - that express His transcendent beauty - and I'm grateful for those surprising moments when I'm overwhelmed by it all.