Before anything, kudos to my sister for making me discover this amazing song. Seriously, I’ve been listening to it for weeks and I’m still not bored…Other than that haunting voice and those powerful drums, I was particularly struck by one detail: though Youth is clearly about the pains of one broken relationship, the songwriter chose to speak in plural. “Our minds are troubled by the emptiness”, “most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs’…it sounds as though her loss, in some strange way, concerns us all.
Don’t worry, this won’t be a line by line analysis. But I do think that the song’s last stanza is key:
And if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one,
‘Cause most of us are bitter over someone.
Setting fire to our insides for fun,
To distract our hearts from ever missing them.
But I’m forever missing him.
We finally get to know why we ‘set fire to our insides for fun’ (a phrase that comes up thrice)…and even that won’t stop her from ever missing ‘him’.
Our existences are marred by relationships that go awry. Divorce rates soar, fathers deny their sons and vice versa, countries wage war for decades and no one remembers why…and I am convinced that these are but shadows of something much worse. I must conclude that all missed out on something huge, that very thing that made us human. We’re all lovers that went wrong.
By now you probably know where I’m getting at. The Book of Genesis gives us the single tragedy that engendered all the others: the day the one animal that could call the Creative Force behind the Universe ‘My Father’ decides to spit on this prerogative. Notice that, contrary to traditional depictions, after their transgression, Adam and Eve certainly do not fall on their faces or beg for forgiveness. ‘It was the woman You gave me’ says Adam, ‘The serpent tempted me’ says Eve. In other words, a complete denial of personal responsibility and a rejection of God’s provision. From now on, we’ll be our own ‘gods’, we said, echoing the serpent’s promise (Gen 3:5). And today we witness the consequences.
If the Scriptures are right when they say we were created by Love and for Love, are we not ourselves right to seek and desire Love in every possible way? And yet in trying, we only succeed in ‘setting fire to our insides’, destroying ourselves even more, only to forget who we are. But our minds are still ‘troubled by the emptiness’, and we’re still ‘forever missing Him’.
No, this is not where I start talking about the great lengths to which our denied Father went to fix our mess. The New Testament does it better than I do, go ahead and read it. For now, I’ll just say that without the incredible revolution it brings, I might as well follow the singer’s advice:
Destroy the middle, it’s a waste of time.
From the perfect start to the finish line.
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