“Born to be in a state of longing”?

Lately a song stuck in my head is Seeker Lover Keeper’s “Even Though I’m a Woman”. It’s on the radio and in the top 20 Australian singles chart.  The verses go like this:

I got a secret
I think I’m in love with missing you
More than I’m in love with you
That’s why I go away all the time
That’s why I travel the world and roam free

I got a secret
I think I was born to be in a state of longing
Born to be wanting wanting
I put in a letter for you
I love the danger in distance
This time I’m leaving you
This is how I feel
I feel like a traveling salesman

It’s a catchy song, and a sadly beautiful one, but it’s also a dangerous one. It expresses so purely a view of love and life which saturates our culture. It’s the Romanticism of the 19th century spread to mainstream culture. It’s easier to miss someone than to be with someone. It’s more ‘dangerous’, and intense to be in a state of longing than a state of marriage.

Being in a state of longing makes for a society of discontented people. It can only fuel divorce and affairs and marriage breakdown. (Yet it also fuels poetry and the Romantic mood that we take for the necessary posture of the artist.) Being in a state of stability and monogamy is not so exciting – yet surely the way Christians believe God calls us to live.

So few works of art show the beauty of long fidelity. It’s a harder task, and a rarer experience. Meanwhile, love is routinely reduced to falling in love and the hope of both Christians and non-Christians to live in a state of stability is not celebrated in any catchy songs.

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