I feel like I received a gift when my sons took an interest in my music. You can imagine that I was even more thrilled when, for Christmas, my youngest son wanted vinyl and a record player! I recall an interesting moment, just before he received said record player when I was trying to describe the notion of what scratched and worn records do. I told him: “They skip son, they repeat son, they make awful, mind-shattering noises son, especially when you don’t treat the record right.” This is true with our minds as much as it is with a wax disc. Our memories, thought patterns and habits are not unlike the tracks on a record. Pain, heartache, and disappointment are like the scars and scratches across the grooves on an old record If we don’t take care to treat our minds right…if we don’t wipe the dust off of them…if we don’t gingerly place the needle down, we get worn, marred and torn valleys we can’t easily escape from. Perhaps more importantly than avoiding the creation of those scratches, we too often forget to pick the needle up when it gets stuck and starts repeating. A stuck needle makes an awful noise, and if we are not careful, we can find ourselves listening to the same lyric on repeat, just like a broken record. When our minds are new and scratch-free, they play the song they are meant to play. The songs that were printed on them by their creator. However, as we age and get hurt or scared, we have a tendency to let the scratches accumulate. We start forming thought patterns that are toxic to ourselves and others. We get caught in a quagmire. We repeat ourselves until, what was once a beautiful, soulful or just a flat-out kick-ass song is ruined.
Just like our old records and their album covers with their roughed up and worn corners, we love to cling to what is familiar and nostalgic. We sit on the bed and hold them and study them. We put them on the shelf and admire them. We take them out and play them, even though we know they will just skip or scratch. Much like this urge to play our old records and hug our old albums, we cling to the struggles, the hurts and the unhealthy patterns we have convinced ourselves we can’t escape from. Whether you’re a believer in a higher power or not, you probably know that this is not how we are at our best. You probably know this is not the music we were designed to make.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. We can move to the next track. We can even change the record! We can even ask for help along the way! What are the broken records and tracks in your psyche? Where do you need to lift the needle? Or maybe it’s time for you to go to the record store (or Amazon) and get a shiny new record?