I have always loved music and dance. I used to tell people that it was woven throughout my soul while tapping my toes and aching to get up and moving. Now I just close my eyes and let the melody fill me up.
When I was a kid my sister had an amazing record collection. Her tastes were a little eclectic so we were exposed to quite a balanced variety.
My mom had a pretty good 8-track collection that she played on the same stereo. We all groaned when she would assert the equal-time rule between what we considered to be our music and her music.
She liked all that old stuff; the instrumental, some Jim Nabors, you get the idea. We called it “elevator music” and mocked it every chance we could get away with it.
But when it was our turn, that record player was turned up and we danced and danced and danced around the living room, into the kitchen, up and down the stairs, and anywhere else that we could still hear the beat.
I will always remember several family home evenings where we would all get dance instruction from my sister, and then from my parents. I certainly remembered and practiced the modern stuff. Those old dance moves, however; not so much.
Even in grade school I had my favorite polyester rust-colored pants with the flared bottoms and black platform shoes. I could disco with the best of them.
Eat your heart out John Travolta.
When I was alone in the house, I would sneak into her records and play, again and again, the ones that spoke directly to me. I would pull out the jacket covers with the lyrics and sing at the top of my lungs.
I absolutely loved it.
I won’t mention artists by name; I know I would lose any credibility I might have with the upcoming generation. Suffice it to say, I know that there would be groans and mocking that I am listening to my own “elevator music.”
But you know what? I loved that music enough again that I found the albums in digital format.
Gotta love Amazon.
I uploaded them to my player, and spent the day working around the house and exercising with my headphones in. I found myself returning in my mind to the young boy holding the record jackets and singing at the top of my lungs.
I told Ann what I had bought and that I wanted to send it to Alex, even though I was sure that she would just roll her eyes. But Ann said to send it to her, that she would love it.
The jury is still out on that one; we’ll see if she smiles or groans.
But there was something else that happened to me. While listening to the lyrics of one of the songs that I had loved then, I discovered that its message was pretty much exactly what I have discovered in the last several years. A message that has struck me as revolutionary, exciting and new, and exactly what I need right now. I have been so anxious to share it with others, because I am sure they just don’t get it as deeply as I do.
So it was more than a little surprising to realize that the same message was being shared through music 40 years ago. Someone else had already figured it out.
What had been old, forgotten, and outdated by others had become new again to the next generation.
New to me.
I switched memories to a recent one several Sundays ago. A 16-year-old young woman was speaking in Sacrament meeting and sharing something that she had just discovered for herself. You could see in her eyes and hear in the intensity of her voice that she understood that this truly was earth changing and she wondered if the rest of us really understood how significant it was.
A smile had crept across my face as I looked back 35 years to when I had made the same discovery.
What was new to this bright, energetic, ready-to-change-the-world youth was something old and precious to me.
What’s old can become new; what’s new is thankfully something old to others.
So, what’s my point?
Truth is truth.
It doesn’t change. It doesn’t waiver. It is solid and constant and secure.
We don’t necessarily need to spend our lives working in dusty archeological digs searching for antiquities. Things that were forgotten long ago and buried.
That might not be the best use of our time.
Our job is to take precepts that are as old as time, and keep them new and alive and vibrant in our lives today.
That way, what’s old stays new; what’s new never grows old.
And rather than spending the time searching for it, we can spend our time sharing it.
Take some of your old records and digitize them, so to speak; you may be surprised at how new your children find them.
And then dance around the living room floor.