Ok, what would you do if you spent 26 hours in a car driving to a family reunion? For us, it challenged our patience as people nearly ran us off the road. Outside of Indianapolis we saw a man driving what appeared to be an Escort get out of his car and nearly throw fists with a truck driver. Keep driving I said to myself. At times, we chatted about life issues. Road trips are an excellent way to reconnect. Common questions we ask are “How are you?” “What is really going on in your heart?” And yes, we spent a lot of time listening to music.
After listening to numerous songs, my wife commented that “it seems like all songs are about relationships.” It involves a break-up or longing for someone in your life. Lately, several songs have been released that affirm commitment in relationships. So, it is not simply songs about “I hate you because you ditched me.” Yet, as we listened to more songs it became apparent that yes most songs discuss love or some aspect of it.
The popular song Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran begins,
When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
And, darling, I will be loving you ‘til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ‘bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me – I fall in love with you every single day
It is interesting when you think about it. Music is an emotional exercise. So, it makes perfect sense that songs would gravitate towards something deeply meaningful, à la love. It is a universal desire. Everyone wants to feel safe and secure with another person. We all want to share life intimately with someone. It is these very relationships that are meaningful to us. I have done countless funerals. I have ministered to hundreds of people near the end of their lives. Without exception they reflect on relationships with their children, friends, or spouse. They want pictures displayed at their funeral with those they loved. They say “I would like people to share testimonies of how I mattered to them.” At times, they have regrets over broken relationships or mistakes in their life (usually involving relationships). I have never heard someone say “Show pictures of that new car I bought in 1999.” Please put pictures of my house on the video display as people walk in to pay their respects. These tangible things are not important to them. Why? Because innately we know it is the relationships that matter.
It is also the reason we don’t hear an abundance of songs on physical stuff. I can’t remember when I heard a song about someone buying a brand new TV or 5-bedroom home. [Granted, if your song is on the radio you don’t have to worry about these things.] But, the point is that there is no emotional connection to physical stuff. People don’t innately resonate with a longing for nicer possessions. Deep down in our hearts we know that our priorities should be on relationships. Therefore, we love to listen to ballads because they cultivate those life longings – those relationships that transcend time and bring us joy.
In our hearts we know what is important. Yet, how often do we chase the physical stuff that brings no lasting joy. Why is it that we betray what is in our hearts and erect bigger homes, buy nicer cars, and save up for more stuff? It doesn’t last. It doesn’t bring joy. We know it. Yet, we keep pursuing them. When I think of eternal hope, it is this very thing that comes powerfully through in the bible. Our eternal hope is not found in mansions but in a redeemed community centered on Christ – people who love the Lord. It is relationships that matter. It is relationships that transcend this world and its stuff. And yet tragically we spend so much time on all the other stuff that we know innately is not important.