Walking with fears and weaknesses
I am the kind of person who listens to lyrics when I listen to songs. It is amazing how many perfectly good songs I have ruined for myself by carefully listening to the words. So many artists take needless lyrical ability without describing anything of substance. A few artists manage to offer something that passes the more holistic test. They manage to describe the human condition in terribly profound ways that I recognize them as “secular theologians.” For a while, Florence and the Machine was my favorite secular theologian. However, I have been recently introduced to Imogen Heap who just may be upstaging Florence for the title.
Imogen is currently touring around the US. If her tour happens to find its way near you, I strongly encourage you to do what you can to attend. It seems she has been opening with “The Walk” which I regard as fabulous
As I have been listening to the song (yes, hit play. It’s a good use of 5 minutes.) on repeat for the last week or so, I cannot imagine a better treatise on the role of temptation in life. Specifically, the climatic bridge describes temptation at its most intense (incidentally it is where it is hardest to clearly hear the words without some sort of text):
No response on any level, red alert this vessel’s under siege,
Total overload, systems down, they’ve got control,
There’s no way out, we are surrounded,
Give in, give in and relish every minute of it
But more than that, this song features awareness, resistance and struggle. From the introduction that never should have been to the ultimate breakdown of any defenses of heart, mind and soul, we look at our weaknesses where it is easiest to pass the blame. Moreover, we can see the situation escalate throughout the song even as the lyrics focus on not wanting to feel or do things inappropriate. It is impressive to see the desire for control to remain until the last second. Additionally, the lyrics do not extol the weakness after indulging it. Our weakness remains weakness.
As I listen to the song, I am struck with how quickly we become aware of our weaknesses. We do have some ability to manage: “Stop right there! No mistakes, no misbehaving.” But we are aware to the point of being consciously aware.
The feature of conscious awareness struck me as a critical realization in the song. Conscious awareness differs from fear. But we can sabotage ourselves by treating our fears as direct threats to our well-being. Too many times I find myself in situations where I fear the monster under my bed. From my own childhood, actually getting a look of what I was most afraid of tended to be my stuffed bear who had fallen off. Such “monsters” are not to be chronically feared but are to be returned to their proper position.
We also need to be honest with ourselves, relative to our weaknesses. Certain situations will (and I daresay they should) put us on red alert. Generally, we find ourselves blaming others when confronted with our own weaknesses. But equally we know what we’re doing and take appropriate responsibility without fearing the “monster” of ourselves.