This past week has been tumultuous to say the least. Many people are feeling scared, many people are frustrated, many people are worn down. No matter what side of the election you were on the world may seem like it is falling apart.
As a general rule I have avoided talking about politics online. It is not an area of particular interest to me, so I don’t feel I have the knowledge to really say anything of merit. But additionally, I find that so often views online (particularly Facebook, which has gotten a lot of flack this election season for showing people what they want to see), are so polarized, sweeping generalizations and fear-mongering. Largely unhelpful in my opinion. When I see updates from my friends I am shocked at the way they attempt to undermine those who are different rather than understand. Many people who I respect have expressed hatred I had thought them incapable of exuding. Many people who I find intelligent and informed have admitted their bias and failure to recognize others who don’t think like them. Many people who I considered my best friends have been acting in ways that is the antithesis of what I find beautiful in them.
This election has brought out the worst in people in so many ways. On November 9th I was driving out to western Pennsylvania to visit a friend. It was a grey, overcast day and as I drove it felt as though the world was caving in with anger, disgust, hatred, fear, pain, sadness, desperation…I could go on.
It is a terrible feeling to recognize the seemingly insurmountable ugliness that exists in the world. And I could feel myself on the verge of despair. Yet, I remembered something…a beautiful book I read last year about this time called Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. At this time I was taking the capstone class for the honors college program I was a part of (which is a fantastic, beautiful great books program). This particular class was to prepare us for graduation, for the transition from college life to the “real world”, and did this in a variety of ways. We read Lewis and Pieper, articles on women in the workplace as well as women (and men) in the house, on the importance of manual labor and the importance of rest. The final work we read was Hannah Coulter which portrays an old woman reminiscing on her life and on the world. In this beautiful work there is a line that stood out to me:
The imagery is stark, reverberating through my mind. Where were the gold stitches of love that were supposed to shine out during this time? And slowly I began to see them – the brief flashes from people, from nature, from what I read and what I did. From art that I experienced and the hidden beauty of sunlight across the mountains.
Then, when I went to write this post I came across this beautiful blog post that I read a while ago and saved for a time when I needed it. It is called, 25 Books to Read When the World is Falling Apart (and it includes Hannah Coulter). What better time than this to go and consider art and literature, especially those written into darkness to shed light and beauty, or to challenge and change, or to comfort and console. This list is intended to include books that do all of the above, all beautiful books that offer guidance, consolation, and motivation in times when the world seems to be filled with chaos and misery.
So, my thoughts were to create a playlist that would reflect these same sentiments. Focused on music that I found particularly relevant or beautiful, music that inspires and comforts, that challenges and uplifts, and most importantly music that offers a variety of perspectives.
Songs to Listen to When the World is Falling Apart