LOVE CAN BE A MESSY THING
To hear the song, click on the title (just above, in green). You’ll be taken to a page with a music icon. Click on that music note and the song will launch.
Love can be a messy thing.
Can’t it though?
I started working on this song sometime during the spring (not sure what inspired it but there are incidents daily that point to the truth of the title) but it took the writing genius, the musical acumen, the lyrical insight, and the sheer brilliance of Bart Scarborough (UGA, 1991, B.S., Ph.D., YMCA, far left in the photo) and Benson Bottoms (UGA, 1982, B.A., far right in the photo) to get it finished. I am indebted to them and have promised them half the royalties from this song.
It will probably occur to you, when you hear the song, that it is the first time you’ve ever heard the word “laborious” in a piece of music. That lyric was Bart’s contribution to an otherwise well-crafted song. He likes big obscure words. Benson and I tried to talk Bart out of using such an uncommon world, but he remained, to use one of his typical phrases, “obstreperous and recalcitrant.” In fact, Bart wanted to include a line that said “love can be obstreperous and recalcitrant” but Benson and I put our foots down, since our names were going to be on the “by” line too. Bart then accused us of being imperious but we just ignored him and moved on.
(All of that is in jest — except the part about B and B helping me write the song. They are great friends, as are the other two in the photo, Dicky Barlow and Ben May of Birmingham. The picture was taken at our annual “My Own Brother Weekend” this past November.)
I sang this song for the first (and only time to date) at a Young Life family camp this spring, where I promised the folks there that I’d record it and put it on the website within a couple of weeks. I then promptly (but with no malice aforethought) got carried away in the studio such that it’s taken a bit of time to complete it.
The title is not terribly poetic but it does state a rather obvious truth. Love is messy. Marriage, parenthood, friendship, collaboration of all kinds – at some point, loving others becomes costly. I’m reminded of the C.S. Lewis passage,
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung out and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. … The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and (disruptions) of love is Hell.”
Love can be a messy thing. Remember 1412 and 1420.
Song for tomorrow, a lullaby, “One of You.”