Sometimes when I am stressed or at a loose end I forget that playing the piano normally chills me out and fills the time. Today was one of those days, but as I started playing my fingers wouldn't move in the right direction for Beethoven - think they had seized up - so I turned to my trusty All Woman song book to have a play and sing. The advantage of living in a detached house is that I can play and sing as loud as I'd like.
The thing I noticed in these songs today is that firstly they are all about love, and secondly about pining after lost love (apart from diamonds are forever which is about stuffing love, having diamonds because love is too much of a hassle).
Since when have we got to the point that all we can sing about is love? The content of the songs speak volumes about how women approach love - there us an air of dependence, a hint of 'lose love, lose yourself'. I wonder if it speaks of a tradition of submission and in that needing to be needed. In the songs the woman pines for the man's affection and hopes not to be let down.
'Anything for you, but you're not here'
'Baby how I miss your love.... I need you'
'Love, soft as an easy chair'
OK, maybe the last one is not so needy - but, seriously? If love is soft as an easy chair I wouldn't want it.
This morning I read that classic description of love from 1 Corinthians 13. It speaks not of a needy love, not of a love that is soft and squishy but of a love that is strong, deeply grounded and challenging. If we were to love with all of the qualities of that chapter we would be some sort of love superhero.
Patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, doesn't want its own way, not irritable, keeps no record of wrong, does not rejoice about injustice, rejoices in a truth win, never gives up, never loses faith, always hopeful, endures through all circumstances.
I've seen too many of my female friends strive after the song descriptions of love (and, I have to admit I've done this myself) - a needy love, a love that keeps you hanging on, a love that is soft and squishy and..... Well kind of lovely.
But I wonder if that degrades us as women. As we seek this kind of love we miss the depth of unconditional love - love that lies its foundations on the description of love that speaks of God in 1 Corinthians 13 - love that gets so agitated about injustice it has to do something about it. Love that never fails.
As broken humans to love in that way is hard because stuff lies around - insecurities, failed relationships, barriers (like diamonds that are forever) and a need to be needed. But.... In love for family and friends, for stranger and neighbour, there is a description of love to work towards. Then we might have something different to sing about.
Back to the Beethoven. It's safer.