Posted November 15, 2009on:
Well, it’s my first ‘rainbow-world’ post, and of course that means the colour theme is red!
What does a red rose speak of? To me, it speaks of love and passionate commitment. (I’ve got a dried-up red rose on my windowsill [pictured], that I received at a church event where all the women attending got a red rose. It was handed out as a symbol of God’s love.) As I write, I’m listening to such a poignant song, Bonnie Raitt singing ‘I can’t make you love me if you don’t.’ One of those sad songs you can totally wallow in.
It begins ’Turn down the lights’ (how I love these four descending notes) and the mood is a ‘turned down’ one, as well. Only when you get to the chorus does the emotion soar – the songwriter has realised she can’t change how the other person feels. ‘I can’t make you love me if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t’. It’s sad but there’s dignity in the way this truth is stated. We don’t need any details – these two lines say it all.
I wonder if that’s how God feels sometimes. Resignation. Of a very reluctant kind. You simply cannot force someone to love you. (We all know that, but how hard to really take it on board sometimes!) Otherwise, it wouldn’t be love at all.
The most intense part of this song is where she sings ‘I will lay down my heart, and I’ll feel the power – but you won’t. No, you won’t!’
I feel that is very much how God feels. He has laid down His heart for us, and He feels the power – the possibilities, the excitement, the passion, of all He could do in and through us - but so often, we don’t.
I like the way there are all sorts of conflicting emotions in this song. It’s not just about self-pity – you could see it as a turning-point for the better in the songwriter’s life. Giving up on something that will never work. A step forward, which she sums up as ‘I will give up this fight’.
But most of all, I just like the way the songwriter has spilled her heart out, and shared something she feels at a very weak point in her life. I think of the gentleness of Jesus – there’s a vulnerability there, in a way. ‘His eyes are like doves beside brooks of water’ (Song of Songs 5:12, the Old Testament).
Mmm, does this mean the Lover in the Song of Songs has eyes that look like birds? Well, no, I think we’re meant to think about how doves make us feel. One summer, I saw a pair of collared doves, sitting on a twig, their beaks entwined, affectionately. And later, almost as moving was the behaviour of the pair I saw on my parents’ patio – you could almost see the thread of loyalty between them. There was just something about their submissive, gentle character that came across. Looking at them, you would say ‘they could do no harm’. For me, this speaks of the gentleness of Jesus, that His expression towards us is as gentle as the nature of a dove.
If you want to listen to the song, the Youtube link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQgDnZQogDM.