Are we tough enough for Ordinary Love?

Sometimes, you come across a song that has so simple and yet profound meaning that they make you pause. Let’s talk about one such song today. The song is called ordinary love. & it’s from U2, the greatest rock band of this (and previous) generation (you can debate me later.). Anyways, the song is written in honor of Nelson Mandela.

It starts with,

The sea wants to kiss the golden shore
The sunlight warms your skin
All the beauty that’s been lost before
Wants to find us again

What beautiful imagery. Trademark U2! But notice the second line. “All the beauty that’s been lost before wants to find us again.” What beauty is Bono (lead singer of U2) talking about?

You’ll have to look at the chorus to understand what he’s talking about. He says,

We can’t fall any further
If we can’t feel ordinary love
And we cannot reach any higher
If we can’t deal with ordinary love

He says, everything depends upon our ability to feel & deal with Ordinary Love. Not any special kind of love, not an extraordinary love. Just everyday ordinary love.

Isn’t there something similar that Jesus said?

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

  • Matthew 22:35-40 (ESV2001)

Jesus was asked for only the greatest commandment but he gave 2 commandments. It was important enough to not separate the two. The second commandment says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

The tragedy of our times is we have forgotten what love is. Saying “I love you” has become a taboo in our society. The reason is our movie industry. I can safely say that hundreds of movies are just a collection of failed attempts of movie’s protagonists to tell each other I love you. And this single imagery of a young couple telling each other I love you has created in our minds a notion that the meaning of love is limited to that singular scene. And maybe, that’s why we don’t tell our neighbors I love you. (DON’T TELL YOUR NEIGHBORS I LOVE YOU! I WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR WHATEVER ENSUES IF YOU DO.)

Joking aside, this singular depiction of love has created a concept in our mind that love is singularly selfish. Because I see searching for a life partner as a selfish pursuit. I also think that not all selfishness is bad. But we must digress as that’s a topic for another day & today we’re talking about love. So, let’s ask another question. Apart from your life partner, who do you love? Mom & Dad! & Siblings of course! And our extended family. And our friends. But just as we mention friends we already enter a murky territory of convoluted meaning. Because, the world has invented something called “friends with benefits”. And, has anybody ever heard someone say, “I love my neighbor”? All kinds of red lights and alarms go off in the heads of those who hear it.

You see, following the patterns of the world, the circle of our love has become so limited. It’s limited to our family, and extends slightly towards our extended family. And that’s it. We go anywhere outside and it becomes something alien, something suspicious, looking through the eyes of the world. The world has lost the definition of ordinary love. And maybe as Bono sings about the lost beauty, he is referring to the beauty that love can create. Because, everything love touches, becomes beautiful.

Didn’t Jesus call us to love our enemies? Isn’t it high time that we look at our own definitions of love? Shouldn’t we re-evaluate how far the circle of our love extends? Does it extend enough to include our enemies? G K Chesterton once quipped, “God tells us to love our neighbor and enemies because most of the times they are the same people.” Does the circle of our love extend far enough to include our Neighbors?

Nelson Mandela once said, “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.” Apartheid was the subjugation of the black people. But once they were free, Mandela fought against black domination of white people as well. He understood that vengeance is the very opposite of justice and freedom. He was fighting for his former enemies. He was fighting for those who had imprisoned him for nearly 30 years of his life. And thus, Bono sings,

I can’t fight you anymore
It’s you I’m fighting for
The sea throws rock together
But time leaves us polished stones

When people oppose us, do we have the heart and the courage to say, “I can’t fight you because it’s you I’m fighting for!” Can we show the world what love means? Are we tough enough for Ordinary Love?

Listen to the song on Youtube.

The sea wants to kiss the golden shore
The sunlight warms your skin
All the beauty that’s been lost before
Wants to find us again

I can’t fight you anymore
It’s you I’m fighting for
The sea throws rock together
But time leaves us polished stones

We can’t fall any further
If we can’t feel ordinary love
And we cannot reach any higher
If we can’t deal with ordinary love

Birds fly high in the summer sky
And rest on the breeze
The same wind will take care of you and I
We’ll build our house in the trees

Your heart is on my sleeve
Did you put there with a magic marker
For years I would believe
That the world couldn’t wash it away

‘Cause we can’t fall any further
If we can’t feel ordinary love
And we cannot reach any higher
If we can’t deal with ordinary love

‘Cause we can’t fall any further
If we can’t feel ordinary love
And we cannot reach any higher
If we can’t deal with ordinary love

We can’t fall any further
If we can’t feel ordinary love
And we cannot reach any higher
If we can’t deal with ordinary love

Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Are we tough enough for ordinary love?
Are we tough enough for ordinary love?
Are we tough enough for ordinary love?

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