Friday, July 18, 2008

How Do I Live?

Just recently I picked up a copy of Trisha Yearwood’s 1997 collection called “Songbook.” I bought it almost exclusively for the song “How Do I Live,” which was on the soundtrack for the movie “Con Air” with Nicholas Cage. Le Ann Rimes also sings a version of the song, but I prefer Trisha’s.

The song asks questions such as, “If I had to live without you, what kind of life would that be?” and makes statements such as these:

“You’re my world, my heart, my soul.”

“If you ever leave, baby you would take away everything good in my life.”

“Without you, there’d be no sun in my sky, there would be no love in my life, there’d be no world left for me.”

“I’d be lost without you.”

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to love songs and romantic movies, I’m the chief of suckers; I love them! Give me Notting Hill, some tealights, peanut butter, and chocolate, and you’ve won me over!

But really, read the lyrics to songs such as this one, and ask – really? Are those things true?

What is it in my life, or in this world, that makes me whole and what satisfies me? Trisha Yearwood sings, “You’re my world, my heart, my soul. Obviously she is referring to a man (unless unbeknownst to her husband Garth she’s a lesbian, then that changes things.)

Should your world, your heart, your soul rely so heavily on something or someone else? I believe that the answer is no. I believe that the moment we place that level of importance on something or someone outside of ourselves, our relationship to that thing or to that person can become one characterized by unhealthy dependence. If we place ultimate value in something outside of ourselves, during those times that we feel needy we will crave fulfillment from those things. Then comes the unfortunate truth that we may no longer love or appreciate something purely, just for what it is. Love becomes a tool, a method that we use in order to get something in return – whether that be attention or fulfillment. And when our “love” doesn’t achieve the desired result in return, we are disappointed or even angry. This is not pure love.

“If you ever leave, baby you would take away everything good in my life.”

Hmm. Really?

What could make a person pronounce such a thing? One of the reasons is maybe they’ve been blinded to, or lost the knowledge and experience of the wonderfulness that is already inside themselves. Instead they’ve placed their hopes in another person or in something else. This is, I believe, one of the huge problems facing our world. We have forgotten about our inner beauty, or as Elvis used to sing “The Wonder of You.” Each of us is a unique and wonderful being, and absolutely nothing less. I believe that we are invited to be people of power and of a healthy self-confidence.

Each year, thousands of people travel to Niagara Falls to see the marvel of the place. Thousands flock to the Grand Canyon and are amazed at the sight. But most of us don’t realize the magnificence that awaits us when we simply look into our bathroom mirror or take time to get to know ourselves.

Of course, no person is an island. But the things that we do, and the materials that we possess should be performed and acquired not to bring us a sense of completeness, but simply because we enjoy them or they help us on our journey of discovering ourselves and the meaning of our lives. More importantly, the relationships we have with other people, while bringing us much joy, should not define us or our purpose for living. This is hard, but as we learn to appreciate and be amazed at our own beauty, I think we can learn to love others more purely and not because we are expecting to feel more whole or happy in return.

May you know today that you are wonderful.