This I Believe

I wrote this essay while having to go through a difficult personal situation. I got a book called “This I Believe II”, a collection of essays from well-known and simple, normal people writing about what they believe. It made me think about my core values, and what I believe, and what has always gotten me through life. So here it is … I hope you enjoy. This essay also made it to the official “This I Believe” web site.

I believe in the power of music.

While reading all the wonderful essays I started to think about what I truly believe in: Loyalty, compassion, kindness, respect for all living beings. All of these influence me every day, and act as guidance to how I interact with people. And while I strongly believe in them, see them as my core values; they just did not seem quite right for this essay.

Many essayists list a life-changing event as something that shed light on what they believe in. About four years ago, I left Germany, the country I was born and raised in; I left everything behind and moved to the US for my husband. We got married, and were, I guess, quite happy for a while. But even although I left a continent, my beloved family and home, I still could not pick one thing that might have sprouted from this experience that was worth writing this essay about.

But this morning, on the metro, just in the blink of an eye, I realized what I believe in; the one thing that has always made a difference in my life, whether I was happy, sad, grieving, or full of joy:

Music.

It might not sound as noble as compassion or loyalty, but it is what helps me to stay strong and to see the world with different eyes. I see people on the streets, on the metro in a different light. I notice details about them that, without music in my ear, I would probably not notice: It feels like not only seeing their faces, but looking deeper, seeing their souls. Music gives me the ability to calm down, to look beyond the rush of the day, and my own sadness. It empowers me to keep going, to feel like being part of this world but at the same time a distinguished individual. Depending on my mood and the song, I can feel like a princess waiting for her prince, like a dancer enchanting her audience, a wonderfully special person who is trying to find her way in this world, the person walking down the escalator waiting to be noticed by someone, a warrior that keeps on fighting until the end for a cause she believes in. Music has the power to let me explore feelings in a deeper way, feelings that I would otherwise ignore. It has the power to make me smile, or cry, or gather strength from within when I thought there was none left.

(August 2011)

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