Before I got married, my favourite styles of music had been contemporary folk and classical music. Then my husband-to-be entered my life and brought his favourite rock music into our household. I discovered quite a new musical world but did not find it overwhelmingly appealing. I did like some rock ballads and from time to time a rock song but did not enjoy and often could not stand those lengthy instrumental interludes my husband was speaking about passionately.

A few weeks ago he bought a CD. He did not tell me a word about it but I noticed it playing one day and as its music aroused my curiosity I went to have a look at whose recording it was. I found out that the CD was titled “Unarmed” and was recorded by a German metal band Helloween to celebrate 25th anniversary of the band’s existence. They compiled a few most popular songs and rearranged them in a symphonic arrangement. Some of the songs are accompanied by the London Choir and surprise, surprise also by the Prague Philharmonics Orchestra. This was the first time I have heard of that band but the band itself is not that important in my story.

I liked the music of the songs but because I did not understand all the lyrics, I looked them up (so thankful for the Internet thing) to know what I was listening to. Songs’ lyrics have always been important to me but there is more. I used to have a classmate who was a Methodist. Once she mentioned that her father did not want her to be listening to the songs whose language she did not understand, because they could propagate evil and hatred and be a devil’s tool. I did not believe either in God or in Devil at that time but the explanation made sense to me and frankly, if I hear a song nowadays which I like musically but do not understand its words, I always check the lyrics…

Well, surprisingly enough to me, I liked the lyrics of the CD too. How good it is not to be prejudiced, I thought.

When I told my husband that the CD had caught my attention, he was pleased but immediately found original versions of the songs on the Internet to show me the difference and their “harder face”. I still liked them so the day after he found a recording of a concert and asked me to come and listen to a part of it. I had other plans and wanted to do something on my laptop so I was not quite eager to follow him but when he asked again for just 10 minutes of my time, I did not want to be unkind. He sat me in front of our PC, put head phones on my ears and clicked the play button. The concert started. The first song having about 4 minutes in its CD version lasted 10 minutes with its lengthy instrumental interludes… and I thoroughly enjoyed that. I was listening further and further and my husband could not believe his eyes. (It is good still to be able to surprise your husband after 18 years of marriage, isn’t it?)

Eventually I saw all the two hours of the concert. After the first 15 minutes I decided to leave the plans behind and enjoy the show without any remorse. When I have plans and do not realise them because of a distraction or an obstacle, it makes me upset. And it happens quite often. Unpleasantly often. But there are times when it is good to succumb to the unplanned and I believe we are perfectly capable of distinguishing between the cases. This time, watching and listening to the concert felt healing and resuscitating. As if a new shoot sprouted from old wood…



  1. Catherine

    Surprising your husband, yes that really made me smile!! I love how you are so open to taste new adventures and you have described that process brilliantly.
    A new shot from old wood……..a wonderful image which I am now staring my day with , so refreshing………thank you Petra:~)

  2. Marcie

    Such an excellent lesson in spontaneity and keeping things fresh and new. Love that – even after all these years – you found a way to surprise your husband. Thanks for this inspiration!

  3. Ginnie

    What a refreshing gift, then, Petra, for both you and your husband at this time of giving good gifts to each other. I love how you allowed yourself to be on the receiving end…which in turn was probably his greatest gift from you that day. Thanks for sharing this. To me it epitomizes what the holiday spirit is all about.

  4. Donna

    Love the picture as it so beautifully illustrates your point. I too do not like to interrupt my plans and find magic in those moments when I allow the unexpected…bravo and a great lesson for me to keep exploring!!

  5. Susan

    Good for you and for your husband, it seemed it was important to him to share this with you and it was a loving thing you did. And then you shared a really nice image with us!

  6. Maery Rose

    Funny to read this right after trying to look up how to say “Thank you” in Flemish to a programmer I work with in Maasmechelen. But then I thought, maybe he doesn’t speak Flemish, he may speak Dutch and what the heck is the difference? Which is all very different than the point of your post but perhaps similar too in that I feel guilty that we expect everyone we work with to speak English and never bother to take the time to learn about their language or for that matter, the music they enjoy. Which is why I am glad to be exposed to a few women here from different countries. To be open to a change in plans to experience something new, especially to share in a loved one’s interests, is indeed a lovely way to grow.

  7. Sue

    Interesting how the lyrics are what typically draw you in to music. For me it is the melody, harmony, and/or rhythm. And, that often means I 'like' some really strange music! Who knows…it might be the music of the 'Devil!' 🙂
    When I taught music, I found that the more we (teacher and students) KNEW about the music, we often could open up our ears and minds to NEW music.
    Great post, Petra! Thanks!

  8. Deborah

    I'm so glad you found the music to be "healing and resuscitating". You have inspired me to seek out new music, to open my heart to the unfamiliar.

  9. Linda

    Well, I don't think my husband is ever going to make me like rock music, but I do try to disengage myself from whatever I'm doing if he asks me to come and look at something or talk about something or listen to something. Sometimes it's hard, especially if you're really focused on something else at the moment; but the opportunity to share a special moment with someone you love is something you'll never look back on with regret. (I just realized that I said "something" way too many times in this comment, but I'm too lazy to come up with another word at the moment.) 🙂
    Your photograph is lovely and a perfect illustration for your post.

  10. Marysia

    "After the first 15 minutes I decided to leave the plans behind and enjoy the show without any remorse"
    Yes, to enjoy 'without any remorse' is such good advice for us. It's so easy in our busy lives to lose part of the experience by being distracted by what we 'should' be doing:-) We forget how to relax into the moment.
    By the way, your piece has just provided me with another example of how non-native speakers of English seem to be producing better English than many of the native speakers. Help!

  11. Monica Devine

    Staying open and receptive to newness and variation can be so rewarding; I wonder if we don't unconsciously harden ourselves into a narrow groove of perspective if we are constantly resistant to being interrupted, or thrown off track from our expectations. This becomes very clear to me when my neighbor's children come over, unexpected, and I'm knee deep in a chore (usually mental). As soon as they burst in the door, the room brightens. Moments later, I realize, I have been given a gift! And I thank the world for rolling in at my feet.

  12. SaucyKod

    We have to let our mind grow, no matter how old we get. I like to think I stay open minded and I think it is wonderful that after a marriage of 18 years, your husband can make you smile – that is love and excitement all wrapped up together. Music is the language of the world, how people express what is within them, sometimes very deep and meaningful, sometimes light and sometimes just makes you feel like dancing. What a wonderfully thoughtful gift he gave to you on this day, and regardless of having other things to do, you stopped and listened – not sure if you ever heard the phrase "Stop and smell the flowers" – kinda the same thing – "stop and listen to the sounds round about you" – you might just discover something you really enjoy. lol

  13. RuneE

    Unplanned doings is seldom a bad thing and very often bring new enjoyment or at least edification. So just continue to keep an open mind (although I personally have some trouble enjoying heavy metal …)
    BTW The attitude of your friend's father is one of the reasons I consider myself an agnostic. He had not an open mind.

  14. Jennifer Richardson

    "as if a new twig sprouted from old wood"…..oh my gosh how
    beautiful is that! I loved your story and needed it right now.
    Thanks for sharing that beautiful heart of yours:)

  15. Kate

    just read this today petra, and I love the way you weave the importance of the element of surprise into the everyday, and how easy it really is to find surprises in the ordinary, if we are open to it…..such a beautiful, true post. thank you!

  16. Sarah Laurence

    It sounds like (pun intended) that you have a very happy marriage. My taste in music is similar to yours and my husband brought in the 1980s British punk rock, which I love to dance to. Now my kids are introducing me to new music. These are good surprises.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *