Like the child of a music-loving family that I am, I often can trace my ideas about life to one song or another. I remember when we got our first household CD player, one of the first CDs that we owned was Iris DeMent’s “Infamous Angel”. A momentous occasion, it is no wonder that I remember so fondly the track, “Let the Mystery Be.”
While she sings specifically about the existential questions of life– Why are we here? What will happen to us when we die?— and her willingness to succumb to the reality that she will never truly know, I have taken the title of the song as a personal challenge in all things.
I found myself one day thinking about the perfect mixed CD and how much this form of musical sharing means to me. I began to dissect what it is that makes a mix a good one. Song selection, balance, placement, subject matter… But then, it occurred to me: part of what makes a mix good is the magic behind it, the not knowing. So I guess I should just let the mystery be.
Now, three months away from my graduation from grad school, I find myself often asking the question, “What’s next?” and the planner in me is running around in circles with arms waving in the air and screaming. I have to know what is going to happen. There are so many questions left unanswered, but, almost as if mocking me, the one answer that remains constant is “Let the mystery be.”
Perhaps, just like the mixed CD, if I were ever to know what the future held, it would take away from the magic and wonder of it all. So I suppose I’ll choose to let the mystery be.