It Takes A Man To Live
“….it takes a woman to make him compromise.”
This Lumineers lyric always made me chuckle. I thought it was a funny look at how women have to control their men or something like that. Like men go out and do all of this crazy stuff but it takes a woman to stop him from destroying himself. Or, in a more negative sense, maybe that a man can go out and accomplish great things, but a home life prevents him from turning his concerns elsewhere.
I’m not really sure what I interpreted the line to mean, really, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I really looked at the entire verse, it became much more clear that it wasn’t a humorous yet negative look at a woman, but rather a celebration of being consumed by a relationship:
“So now I think that I could
Love you back
And I hope it’s not too late cause you’re so attractive
And the way you move
I won’t close my eyes
It takes a man to live
It takes a woman to make him compromise”
A man can live his life as freely as he wants, but when he’s struck by something truly beautiful to him, he makes “compromises” to what he thought he wanted because he’s consumed by that beauty. The way that beautiful object moves, be it a person or a goal or even just some thing, captivates him. Makes him want to change to accommodate it. It’s nothing negative at all. In fact, it’s really just appreciating how we can be totally consumed by something that is beautiful to us.
This past weekend, I got to hear my friend Frank Haynes speak to some high schoolers about how all have to be consumed by something. It’s unavoidable. It’s in our nature to be consumed by some sort of desire or passion. Whether or not we choose what it is, there is always something that consumes us.
The scary thing about it is that we, as humans, conform to whatever consumes us. If it is some sort of life goal that consumes us, we will do everything to achieve that goal. If it is the love of another that consumes us, we will catch ourselves dressing or acting differently to appease them. And if it is something higher than ourselves that consumes us….well, who even knows what will happen.
An abortion clinic rests just 100 yards from the coffee shop I’m sitting in. It is the only clinic in the state of Mississippi. Because of this, it’s the center of a lot of argument. Even as I type this sentence, there are people with signs standing right outside the building, being consumed with the desire to make their viewpoint heard.
Often, there are people with grotesque images of aborted fetuses on signs, fighting to close the clinic. Today, there are women with less violent signs fighting to keep the clinic open. Both sides claim to fight on the side of human rights. Both sides refuse to budge for the other. Both sides are consumed with their own justification, and consumed with anger towards the other.
On this particular day, January 21st, I have to think about the man whose life we celebrate. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was consumed by a desire to see a nation changed. He was consumed with the desire to stand up for those who didn’t have a voice. He stood up for rights, true human rights, that people were being denied. It was not a battle of anger or hostility towards any other race, but a battle for just treatment to be shown to people of all races and genders. He was a hero not just to the African-American community, but to all Americans who care about their fellow man. Not a battle for some entitled privileged or an anger-filled political cause, but a battle for justice.
He could have lived any life he wanted. He took a look at equality and found it so attractive that he couldn’t close his eyes to it. He was consumed by something greater than himself; consumed to the point of being willing to die for the cause.
I wonder what consumes me. Is it some life goal? Some affection from somebody else? Do I live off of anger towards some other group of people who think differently than I do? Or is there something greater than myself?
I wish I could honestly say I am consumed by Christ. I wish I could honestly say that the fire burns within me to be the light of the world and salt of the earth like I should be. I wish I could say that, but all too often I find myself standing around, holding signs promoting my own agenda and preaching the Gospel of Joseph Craven. So many other things sit on the throne of my heart, when all I need is the consuming fire that has already claimed that spot.
What consumes you?
“There is some good in the worst of us & some evil in the best of us. When we discover this we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Happy MLK Day, everyone!