I’m a recovering music snob.
For a very long time, I felt that I knew what good music was. And, just as important, I know what good music wasn’t.
In my teens and early 20’s, I liked singers and bands that most people hadn’t heard of, yet. Once those artists became popular, I moved on to someone new. I had disdain for almost everything on Top Forty radio. This includes songs I hadn’t heard, and artists I hadn’t heard of.
That softened somewhat with age, and even more so as I found my metaphysical and spiritual path. As recent as five years ago, I had an instant reflex where I’d change the radio station in the car the moment I heard the opening notes of a song I didn’t like.
For the most part, I don’t do that anymore. But there has been one hold out.
I have nothing personal against the current or former members of this band. I never met any of them. And I don’t even eschew them their success.
But their music is connected to a person and situation in my past. While I won’t go into details about what happened (or who was involved), that bad experience has been connected, for me, to this band for decades.
It’s finally time for me to let this go.
I wanted to share this because you might have something similar in your life. It’s probably not a decades-long grudge against a band you never met. But maybe you have connected things, places or even people to something that they don’t really have anything to do with.
This may sound silly, but shortly after I got out of a long-term relationship, I visited a restaurant that had been significant to that relationship. It was a small, regional chain that I’d been to before, but it had taken on new meaning during the course of that relationship. And afterwards, I had trouble separating the two.
So I went there, by myself, almost once a week. And slowly, it lost the connotation I had given it.
A relatively simple solution that simply took time. And money.
I could do something similar with Journey, but I don’t think that’s the answer. In fact, I don’t think what I did with that restaurant was really the answer, either.
The answer is forgiveness.
I have forgiven the person I was in that long-term relationship with, but that restaurant chain has no locations where I now live, so I have no idea if that would have made a difference. Especially since my continued immersion in it at the time seemed to do the trick, anyway.
This other situation has had a lot longer to fester. And I don’t think locking myself in a room and listening to Journey for hours would change anything.
You know what did change things? When I forgave them.
It was a long time ago. We don’t even know each other anymore. We’ve all moved on, and have our own (reasonably) grown-up lives now. Carrying a grudge seems pointless. And letting it continue to have any power over me seems more than counter-productive. It’s dumb.
Forgiving doesn’t mean deciding someone’s bad behavior is acceptable. But it does mean not carrying around the weight of anger, disappointment and hurt feelings.
So how does this song fit into all this?
“Lights” was a minor hit for Journey in the summer of 1978. It was the third single from the band’s first album with singer Steve Perry. None of those singles cracked the top forty. “Lights” had become more popular over the years, and is now a staple on classic rock and oldies stations.
The song is about visiting, or returning to, San Francisco.
When the lights go down in the City
And the sun shines on the bay
I want to be there in my City
It’s not just about being back in that City, though. It’s about being there with someone special. It’s about connecting the City in the song to a feeling of being happy, of not being alone.
So you think you're lonely
Well my friend I'm lonely too
I want to get back to my City by the bay
It’s about a connection with a place and a feeling. And someone special.
Songs often serve as an audio yearbook, freezing in time certain people, places, things and events. Dick Clark called it the soundtrack of our lives, and I think that’s wonderfully appropriate.
But when it’s connected to something that doesn’t make you happy, that doesn’t bring back good memories, it’s time to take a look and see how forgiveness can help you let it go.
Here’s Journey’s original video for this song, filmed just a couple years before MTV…
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