The Music of love


Silhouette of Couple Playing Guitar at Sunset


Music is a powerful thing. Perhaps, nothing captures human emotion like music. The theme of love runs through music, as it does with all forms of art. The intimate love of a couple is one of the most powerful and life changing emotions a person can experience.The intensity of being in love may be unmatched by any other human emotion, even the love of a parent for a child.

I muse on this as I listen to music this morning. One of the most intimate of modern musical muses is Johnny Swim. The kitschy and unlikely name belies a husband and wife combination making some of the best music today. They also seem madly in love with each other. Beautiful voices. Smooth harmonies. Palpable emotions. Powerful songs. It is catchy music, but it is not pop. I would call it indie, but folksy.

Their story is as compelling as their music. She is the daughter of Donna Summer, the disco queen. Her first CD as young girl was Vince Gil. He is Cuban. His father was a preacher. They saw each other for the first time across a room in college. She pegged him as a ladies man, out of her league. She avoided him for four years. He saw her and said to himself, “That is the woman I am going to marry.”

Take some time to listen to their music: Diamonds and Live While We’re Young are anthems of youth and passion and love.

  • “We are the fire from the sun. We are the light when the day is done. We are the brave, the chosen ones. We are the diamonds rising out of the dust.”
  • “Make no mistake. Live while we’re young. Chase down the sun. Hands off the brake. We can die when we’re done. Let’s live while we’re young.”

They portray that intimate, heady love that is the thing dreams are made of, the happily ever after feeling that books and movies attempt to capture on the screen and poets captured in words. It is a love that everyone yearns for, but often seems just out of reach. Listen to Take the World and You and I:

  • [T]hey can write stories
    They can sing songs
    But they don’t make fairy tales
    Sweeter than ours
  • Tell me where we’re gonna plant these seeds
    I come climbing up your apple tree
    Can you take me to your garden please

Then there is the song, Over. It is as beautiful as it is haunting. “Wake me up the dream I had is over”.

The truth is that the Disney kind of love really does not exist.

It is too good to be true. It is an illusion. It cannot be sustained, at least not in the passionate, head over heels kind of way. “[Y]our love is on fire on mountain tops not down with me….” is recognition of the illusion that many people fall for. They want to stay on the mountain top forever, but nothing really grows on mountain top, as beautiful as it is there. It is not a place a person can live indefinitely, even if you manage to reach its heights.

Many people chase a mirage that always seems to evaporate, and then they chase it again in a new direction – it seems always just out of reach.   Poets and lovers have been trying to capture the essence of that elusive pot of gold for thousands of years. Even when love is found, it is fleeting, “like a shooting star” as the Bad Company tune goes.

Maybe that is because “we are all just dust in the wind” as Kansas sang. From dust to dust we live. Even the strong, lifelong love that precious few are able to sustain with any degree of conviction and earnestness cannot maintain the original intensity. The 50, 60 70 years it lasts, is like the bloom of a single flower in the field of human history. It is a brief glory.

Is there a love that does not fade like a shooting star? Is there a love that rises above the dust? Is there a flower that does not lose its bloom?

We instinctively “know” there is something more. Musicians and poets have written about it for centuries. The longing is real.

Would we have any sense of “it” if there was no essence of “it” to be sensed? And if the essence that we sense is real, it must exist in some other realm than this human existence; it must grow out of a different soil.

Jeremiah the prophet said, “Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.” (Jer. 17:13) He also predicted that one day “living water would flow out of Jerusalem.” (Jer. 14: 8) He also said that, without God, we are like broken cisterns that cannot hold water, the living water that God offers to us. (Jer. 2:13) Jesus was/is that living water. (John 4:10) Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38) In Revelations John saw a vision in which he was told that God will lead the people who follow him to streams of living water and wipe every tear away. (Rev. 7:17)

I believe this living water is the love that we sense and that we long for. This is love that is available to us from God. It is love that we only see through a glass darkly in this mortal coil we inhabit, but it is a love that grows in intensity rather than fading. It is a love that, indeed, lasts forever and quenches the thirst so that one will never thirst again. All real love is a subset of this Great Love, and divorced from it no love can be sustained. God is this Love. (1 John 4:8)

***********

C.S. Lewis famously said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we are made for another world.”

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