I Could Use a Love Song
Happy Valentine’s Day, Gals!
I’ve felt a shuttering reality recently; a reality that pain is the most unbiased emotion. Old, young; rich, poor; black, white; good-hearted or slimy. Because the truth is, no one escapes it, this mercilessly tolerant emotion. Yet in the trenches of it, a greater reality emerges if you’re listening. Love. Also unbiased, yet with a caveat pain doesn’t require – invitation. The cruel paradox is that none of us ask for pain, yet it forces its way upon us, while the thing we crave most seems ethereal and out of reach much of the time in a broken world. A porcelain crap shoot, at best.
Why? Because pain yells, and love whispers. Yet somehow in the midst of despair or frustration, once you do tune your ears to hear love’s soft song, love proves itself the melodic cure all. The most radical, redeeming, and restorative antidote to pain, loss, betrayal, disappointment, and heck, just life!
That is the kind of love we want to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. In a season that markets intoxicating, passionate, social media fashioned feelings, we’re turning down the noise and soaking up the whispers of love in its original design – steady, selfless, and still.
To no fault of our own, our minds and hearts are wired to be accepted, to be cherished. We long for someone to look at us, see every inch of the scars and the screw-ups and the selfishness, and tell us they’re not going anywhere. That version of love – that is the greatest truth. We crave the idea of it, but we hate what it demands of us. We have no way to Google translate words like habitual, servant, committed love into a language our consumer culture can comprehend. It’s too radical and too boring.
The story we’re sold is that love is a feeling that finds you, a prize to chase, a trophy that once we win remains up to us to keep earning back. It’s what fills, defines, and intoxicates us in a world constantly thieving our inherent worth and trust. But this kind of love is a sugar-crash! An impulsive, fill me up so I can feel worthy of myself “love,” that will hardly outlast the Valentine’s hangover.
The kind of love that whispers – that’s the kind that lasts.
It’s the kind that changes you before it changes the ones you’re loving. The kind that cultivates long-rutted habits of listening, serving, and forgiving. The kind that makes love a posture for living life, not a pill for forgetting it.
I love the song by Maren Morris, I Could Use A Love Song. Couldn’t we all! But which version of that song do we want to hear? Up-tempo beat that spurs us from our seats to dance with fearless impulse? Or the mellow ballad that, let’s be honest, we sometimes have a hard time getting into? A few of the lyrics go like this:
Usually a drink will do the trick
Take the edge off quick, sitting in the dark
With a shared cigarette
Seeing eye-to-eye, and heart-to-heart
But maybe I’m just getting old
Used to work but now it don’t
A long gone drive
You know the kind where you take a turn and you don’t know why
But it clears your mind, a surefire cure
I need something stronger
That’ll last a little longer
I wish I didn’t know so much
I peeked behind the curtain
Now that magic rush
Feels like a trick that isn’t working
But I haven’t lost all hope yet
Yeah it’s hurting but it ain’t dead
I could use a love song
That takes me back, just like that
When it comes on
To a time when I wouldn’t roll my eyes
At a guy and a girl
Who make it work in a world
That for me so far just seems to go so wrong
Yeah I could use, I could use a love song
Give me a sign or a rhyme or a reason
Just something that I can believe in
It’s a hall of mirrors, a misrouted map in a scavenger hunt for another fleeting love song to replace the other ones she’s lost. Until the end. Now she gets it! I don’t need something else to distract, I need someone solid to be devoted. Someone not just to be with, but to believe in. Someone that in spite of the ways you’ve failed or hurt or left them, they still believe in you.
That’s the kind of love we’re celebrating today. Whoever it is – husbands, siblings, parents, mentors, life-long or recently made girlfriends – all of us long for someone to love us that way. The key? Action, not reaction. Offense, not defense. Start to take steps to straighten up your posture of loving people, and the people you love might just start straightening theirs too.
Bob Goff says it best in his most recent book, Everybody Always:
“Love isn’t something we fall into; love is something we become.”
Simple as that, gals. Now, will those on whom you pour out honest, patient love always reciprocate? Of course not. We will still get hurt, still get burned, and still have days where we curse the Hallmark channel and eat three pints of Jenny’s ice cream. But we know the truth – that not only is this kind of love the only medicine for sorrow, it’s also the only song you’ll need to sing once you finally hear the right melody.
Have a love-filled Valentine’s Day, all our SHE’S!