As I stated in an early post music is a major joy in my life. I love looking at it from the standpoint of what it says about both our human and spiritual lives. So for a time I am going to change the focus of this blog to begin to look at some songs (mostly older, “non-religious”) that have many layers and are another doorway to understanding our lives and hearts.
The subject of love is widely covered in literature, music, art, religion, philosophy…… We are obsessed with the study of it, the expression (or lack thereof) of it, the mystery and intangibility of it while all the while trying to define it. “Perhaps Love” a song written by John Denver is one attempt to explore love.
“Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home.”
In the first stanza the exploration begins. Love is described with feel good words rest, shelter, warm, comfort. This love is so positive that it stays in your consciousness as a welcome memory that provides a sense of home when that is needed. But what about folks who do not have a good experience of home? Do they relate to this at all? Do we need to explore “home”. First let’s look at what the songwriter moves on to say.
“Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through.”
In the next verse love becomes active. It beckons you to explore to expand what you think it is: “it wants to show your more.” Even a glimpse of that more becomes a part of you so that when lost you hold on to what is remembered about this love. Again the “memory of love” is referenced.
“Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know.”
And then the section above reflects on the different ways people see love: soft, strong, way of life, feeling, all encompassing or confusing. Many of us probably have experienced or witnessed love that wants so badly to hold on. Here it is established that there seems to be no consensus about defining love.
“Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you.”
In the final verse we again get a mixture of thoughts or feelings: conflict, pain yet warmth. Also, for someone that loves the ocean is there comfort there or is it what reminds of conflict and pain? For some of us there is energy and excitement in thunder and for some fear. And at the end a “you” is referred to as holding the memories of love. The last two verses are repeated before the song ends.
My belief is that not only does this song capture the many ways we experience human love but underneath tells us who we are: children of God/Creation/the Universe not only created from love but love itself. The word “home” for many may hold negative feelings that lead them to reject even the idea of love attached to it but I believe this song is telling us to look beyond that.
Notice that the first two verses reference going home” in relationship to the “memory of love”. However, in the last verse it changes to “my memories of love will be of you.” On one level it can be said this refers to another human being. While that may be true I believe there is a much deeper level referred to here.
As I listen to the song what becomes truth for me is that there is a memory born in another place beyond my humanity. There is something at our core that “memory” of where we came from or who we are beyond our human earth home. During the dark times in my life that memory has carried me through to light. It is a memory that whispers you are loved beyond measure and you are LOVE. As I remember that it fills my heart and comforts me in times of trouble and joy. Yes, the human experiences both the positive and negative impact of love in human relationships but those do not define Love. For me ultimately it is God/Creation/the Universe that ultimately is the “you” and the “home”.
I also believe John Denver was a light being who came here to help us see the beauty of the earth and ourselves. He recorded a wonderful duet with Placido Domingo of this song and if you do not know it I suggest you take time to listen and let it speak to your heart.
As you look at your life what are your experiences of love? Are you willing to open your heart to see what may be beyond your human experience? Does music have answers for us to our questions about life?