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I Want It That Way or Be Thou My Vision

There is a path that may seem straight to someone, but in the end it is a path to death.
-Proverbs 14:12

I was looking at a popular song from 1999, called "I Want It That Way", that has a chorus that cries out, "tell me why?"

The song starts out with desire that sounds like the Song of Songs, in the Bible.
You are my fire
The one desire
Believe when I say
I want it that way
I read a book by CS Lewis, when I was in college and starting to struggle with this idea of romantic love, called The Four Loves.  Those 4 loves are affection, friendship, eros, and charity.  We need all four of these.  Charity is the hardest one, which has to do with unselfishness and sacrifice.
Tell me why
Ain't nothin' but a heartache
Tell me why
Ain't nothin' but a mistake
Tell me why
I never wanna hear you say
I want it that way
Maybe the reason why songs like this are so popular is that the experience of desire, love, and heartbreak are universal.  You want someone.  That is fine and normal.  But do they want you?

Unrequited love is stuck on 'why?'  There may be a hundred reasons you will never know and the reasons may have nothing to do with you.  The person stuck on why is refusing to move on, grow, bury it, grieve it, and is stuck on selfishness.

'Why' questions are the wrong questions.  The 'what' is that you are lovable and somebody else loves you.  The answer to 'why' questions are not available to you, even from God.  Perhaps, part of the reason is that God does not want us looking backwards.  As the philosopher/theologian Kierkegaard said, we do understand our lives by looking back; but we don't get 'why' questions answered.

The 'what' answer is that God has a unique destiny for you.  The 'what' answer is that God loves you.  Those are the answers that give us life and move us forward with meaning.

There are stages of grief, that don't necessarily run logically, in order; and part of that is being upset and saying, "why?"  The answer is not to, "just get over it".  The answer is to grieve it, let it go; and letting it go is a process.  The healing process involves letting go and holding on.

What about falling in love?  If you start to explore charity love, you will find real love that is reciprocal.  Love without charity is selfish.  That love wants what it wants and sees the object of it's love as an object.  We objectify people.

Objects are like pictures or statues.  We posses them.  Selfish love treats people like objects.  Unselfish love, love tempered with charity or agape, treats people as people.  People decide, people have personalities, and real people can love you back how they decide to.

Something to think about is, are you seeing that person you want as a person or an object.  We go after, desire, and consume objects.  But we discover, listen to, invite, make a space for, and become acquainted with a person.

When I was pondering this song, I noticed that the tune had similarities to the old hymn. 'Be Thou My Vision'.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
This song is about having God, in Christ, be the center of your life.  Make Christ the love of your life and then find the person who you will marry.  Pretty simple.


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