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Friday, February 12, 2016

My Car Radio Conversion Story

Some people have a religion conversion story, for me I've always been Catholic. I do however have a car radio conversion story. While not quite as serious, I thought it was an interesting journey that I was on. I only saw the journey after I went through these phases and now look back. I might still be journeying but that is for the future to decide.

I grew up on country music. It's what my family listened to in the car while we were driving anywhere. It didn't matter if we were going on a short drive into town or a long drive to see relatives, the radio was always on and country was playing. As a young teenager I got a CD player and most of Martina McBride's CDs; she became my favorite artist to listen to. I listened to CDs instead of the radio in the family vehicle on longer trips. Car radio is where I have always heard most of my music, but in high school I got an iPod to take on long walks. Country was on my iPod too, at first. My parents gave me a new CD, an artist similar to Martina McBride's style but Natalie Grant is a Christian singer. I liked her music and hadn't realized there was a Christian music genre until that point. From there my iPod gained some new music from WOW Worship CDs and others I got at a youth church conference.
I can't remember how I found the local Christian radio station, so it must have been channel surfing, but I was delighted when I realized some of my new music was on a local station. From then on I changed the station of every vehicle I drove from the old familiar country music to the new Christian music I was quickly falling in love with. Since I didn't have my own vehicle yet I got to drive a variety of my family's vehicles and change all their stations. I got to drive my siblings to school and even though they complained about my station I decide the driver gets to pick. Eventually I converted them to loving my local Christian station as well.

When I went to college in the town the station is based in, I got a window sticker from the station for my car so that other people would know about the great station I had found. Because of my window sticker, I started paying more attention to other window stickers on vehicles around me. After about five years I was driving like it was any other day. I saw another vehicle with the window sticker for the local affiliate to the Catholic radio station. I had been seeing these stickers from the beginning as many people at church have them but I never thought to go listen to the station. That day was different, and I began my latest radio station conversion.
I turned to the local Catholic station and heard EWTN, a global Catholic radio network
I still really love country music, it sounds like home to me. I also really love Christian music with all the great lyrics and wonderful praise and worship moments. But I was a new mother working away from home and feeling like I had not enough time with my family, which lead to not enough time to personally learn and grow in my Catholic faith. Listening to EWTN, from the very first day, is pouring a water of knowledge on my parched desert brain that was thirsting for more knowledge to grow a fruitful faith life. I liked the Christian station better than country music because it brought me up and focused my thoughts on the joy of knowing a loving God. I love EWTN because it answers questions I didn't know to ask, and answers questions that people in my life later ask me. I love EWTN because it brings my thoughts daily to what I can do to be a better Catholic and in doing so grow closer to God. I love to listen to heart warming stories and bits of people's lives as they seek the help of the station that is such a great theological resource to so many people. I love the opportunity to pray for those who call in who are hurting, I'm connected to a larger network of God's family and can lift my thoughts above myself to others.

I used to have a hard time at my job with office chatter distracting me or causing headaches as I tried to focus on my work. I tried listening to my Christian radio station but the music caused headaches as well. White noise did no good and I was miserable. When I listen to EWTN I'm not distracted from my work and the voices mask the office chatter not by volume but because they're both voices. It might seem a small thing, and an unusual solution, but it has been wonderful for my head and my soul.

On my radio station journey I've realized that time spent driving can be a marvelous time to do more than listen to feel good songs. It can be a time to learn and grow personally. Since I personally set aside the song stations I realized that God gave me the time I spend driving as a personal prayer time as well. In this busy time in my life I found my perfect radio station for driving, which is none. In the silent journeys to and from work I can disconnect from the noise that used to mask the time and listen to hear God speaking to me. And when I need a radio station at work, EWTN is there to help me as I stumble toward sainthood. Some people really connect with music, and can use it as a tool to connect themselves with God. For me and possibly many others it can be a distraction from what is truly important.