I love music, and so I made a playlist called "New" the other day. Music that speaks to new beginnings, new creation. It's a work in progress, certainly, and I'm sure (and hoping) it will grow as this year of "new" goes on. I wanted to share one of the songs from it with you, "January White," by Sleeping at Last. Last year, Sleeping at Last wrote an EP every month. The songs often match the mood of the month or the season. January is a cold, bleak, wintery month. But this is a happy song, full of ukulele, that has been breathing life and light into my bones. The song speaks of the promise and hope of new beginnings.
well, we could let our guards down a little easier this time, we could trust that when there’s joy, there’s nothing dark behind. in spite of history, hope is january white.
On their blog, Sleeping at Last said this line was a nod to Brene Brown (another one of my favorites), and her idea of "foreboding joy." Maybe you've felt it before. You're at the height of joy, and a thought comes in that something bad is going to happen that will take the joy away. It's like we try to beat disappointment to the punch. If we think the joy won't last forever, then when it finally does end, we won't be disappointed; it won't hurt as badly. (This isn't an optimism/pessimism thing. Brown says it's our culture's problem with vulnerability).
I can relate to this all too well. I don't always think something totally awful will happen. I'm not fatalistic. But sometimes, I catch myself questioning just how long the joy might last.
Especially during the winter months, when I am very much affected by the cold weather and shorter days, joy can be a battle. So on January days when I do feel joyful, this tendency of fearing what's on the other side of the present joy (sadness, grief, loneliness) can start to creep up. I brace myself from the surely impending sadness, rather than living openly and expansively in joy.
This song has helped me to live in my joy. To be fully present in my joy, today, January 5. I don't have to live in the possible fear of the joy ending. I can trust that when there's joy, there's nothing dark behind.
I hope you enjoy the song. And if you, like me, are affected by these winter months, take heart. The joy you feel today may not last forever, no. But don't fear what's behind it.