by Vikki J. Myers, Co-Founder, Worship Leader
Vikki is starting the last 30 days of training for her second successive Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 7. She is chronicling those last days by reflecting on the music playlist she has compiled to encourage her while she runs which we call Chicago Marathon ( VikkiThon) on our YouTube Channel .
My coach, Jules Burke, and I trained along the course that runs along the Fox River. The course includes streets in downtown Geneva, notably a two-block uphill stretch that was missing from my treadmill. Climbing that higher ground for several weeks gave me new appreciation for cross-training. The muscles behind me were an undiscovered country.
Striving to reach the new heights elevated me to places I hadn't expected to go, and when marathon day came, the hill was troublesome but not daunting. As Marvin and Tammi also sang, "Ain't no mountain high enough." (A Romans 8 and an Ephesians 3 moment.)
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: Marvin & Tammi Bonus Track
Unlike Fox Valley, the Chicago Marathon course is relatively flat. However, the urban setting through the city streets is a different challenge. The pounding across concrete puts stress on different muscles so that the one notable incline along Roosevelt Road just two miles from the finish, although not as steep as downtown Geneva, feels like climbing Mount Everest.
Higher Ground: Hitting the Hill
It's not correct to say that these hills are the reason I put Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” on my playlist. As I explained to my “cause-and-effect” husband, not every song on the list has a deeper meaning. I just like the song and the beat helps me run.
Michael-Being-Michael hears other things. (Another story.) Since this week’s conversation theme of the songs on my #VikkithonPlaylist seems to be “church music” and “pop music,” as we drove to a doctor’s appointment today (scheduled checkup), Mr. Linear wanted to know if I’d ever heard the song as he has. I haven’t. I might later, but haven’t yet.
We agreed, though, that often hearing a song in a different time and space, through a different singer or arrangement, or through a different time of life may create a totally fresh interpretation.
(We made the latter discovery listening to the radio one Saturday night after we’d been married 10 years or so. Classic disco, R & B, and Steppers stations were our date night white noise. A song came on we’d always jammed to. Suddenly, we were struck by a lyrical double-entendre we’d never caught in our 20s. I’m sure it was because Camille was newly born. Becoming parents does change your auditory filter.)
The same renewed interpretation occurs with reading Scriptures in different translations or with a different person reading. Example, when Michael and I grew up, only the King James Bible was available. We need not stress how hardeth understandingeth it waseth. We attribute much of our spiritual growth to discovering first the New International Version, then other translations. These not only were easier to read in our modern language, by making clear the nuances of literature (simile, metaphor, analogies, etc.) they gave a us a deeper appreciation of the original text. So it is with these lyrics:
I'm so darn glad he let me try it again
Because my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I'm so glad that I know more than I knew then
Going to keep on trying
'Til I reach my highest ground
Higher Ground: What the Blind See
While we loved Stevie’s original, Michael unexpectedly encountered a version by The Five Blind Boys of Alabama several years ago while hearing their album as he walked through -- wait for it! -- a Tower Records store! When I showed him my playlist, he thought of that version. So, while I’ll be running to Stevie, we thought it would be fun to include both video versions -- Stevie's from 1974, shortly after the song was released; and the Five Blind Boys featuring Clarence Fountain with guest Chrissie Hynde, founder of The Pretenders, in 2011. As you listen, we just want to know: “Do you hear what I hear?”
Run the Marathon With Vikki
The KIT 'n' Kaboodle Blog
The essays here are culled from our travels, conversations, worship experiences and discoveries.
Many are reprints from our newsletter, The KIT 'n' Kaboodle, or Facebook notes over time.
They're written by our ensemble, Garlan Garner, Michael Edgar Myers or Vikki J. Myers -- solo, or collectively.