I come from an “interesting” family background, to say the least. Paradoxically, we are all quite sensitive or emotive by nature, but our culture of origin taught us not to talk about our feelings and emotions. To paint a clearer picture: bursts of anger, nasty words and depression episodes would commonly be in our company, but in an act of “saving face”, as if we were playing hide and seek, we would wait for time to pass until we could share something more pleasant. Instead of facing what was really going on, we were taught to push it down, numb ourselves and fake our way into our next interactions. Of course, there were also moments of vulnerability and yes, we did share genuinely good memories but if I were to list the difficulties we went through as a family and how much of that was discussed or processed (at the time), the silence would be deafening.
Paradoxically, we are all quite sensitive or emotive by nature but our culture of origin taught us not to talk about our feelings and emotions.
Now that you know a little bit about my upbringing, you will better understand and appreciate the role music has played in my life. Most of the positive family memories I do have revolve around music: us improvising a karaoke session, my mom cooking and singing the most beautiful melodies in Kirundi, us having a spontaneous living room dance party, us listening to each other’s favourite album on our occasional road-trips… But also, and most importantly: music is definitely what God has used to keep me. Through all the heartbreaks, being a deep feeler without the ability to make sense of any of it would often lead me to an impression of suffocation. However, turning music on would instantly feel like putting on an oxygen mask. I would hear that special line, melody or beat, which would make me feel understood and help me understand myself. It was liberating. Later on, I started writing and making music myself, it always felt sacred to me. It was the only place where I truly felt safe and permitted to express what was really going on deep inside. And it didn’t matter whether anyone else would ever see or hear it, somehow, I felt like my emotions and feelings mattered. I even felt like they were invited. Seeing the beauty that came from it empowered me to dare believe that they could actually be used for good.
music is definitely what God has used to keep me.
I am still on a journey, learning how to live and express my inner world. But to this day, whenever I feel overwhelmed or void, I often hear the tune of a song whispered to me. And when I do go on and listen or sing that song, I feel my soul invigorated. I like to think, it is the Holy Spirit humming to me.
P.S.: I am absolutely grateful for my family. This is only part of our story, they’ve also taught me many amazing things and we are an ongoing beautiful work in progress.
I am still on a journey, learning how to live and express my inner world. But to this day, whenever I feel overwhelmed or void, I often hear the tune of a song whispered to me...I like to think, it is the Holy Spirit humming to me.
This song was created for Our Church Too.
This is part 2 of 3 of Ben's reflections on belonging and the Church.
Indy and Erin share the Our Church Too Christmas letter from them to you.