HIGHER LOVE

I woke to an unexpected song running through my head. It was unusual in that I had not heard it in ten years and hadn’t been listening to music to recall it. It was the song “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood. The lyrics spoke truth.

“Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time
Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine

Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be.”

The song was a segue from a book I had finished last night. The book “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” was a work of historical fiction about C.S. Lewis and his wife. Their shared journeys of seeking and finding Christ lead them to a close friendship. I identified with their honest questioning of the who, what and HOW of Christ. Her exasperation when she said, “He demands too much of us,” was palpable to me. I too have asked God before why things had to be so hard?

The book was so relatable I forgot it was written about an earlier century. Their quest was as current as ever. When I finished the book I felt like I was saying goodbye to kindred spirits. They, like me, had been on a journey of understanding- a quest for God’s truth. It was never about religion for them. I giggled when I read C.S. Lewis hated the organ and sat behind a column so the pastor couldn’t see his face when he disagreed.

Enter Steve Winwood this morning. Why was my mind replaying lyrics from that song? How did the recesses of my mind find a single song so applicable? Higher Love is something everyone wants. We want to be respected, protected and accepted. We want to be adored and treasured. The quest begins in infancy and never really ends. But what of this “Higher Love?” Higher Love has to be that like Christ’s. The selfless kind we give without expectation. I figure it looks something like this:

Loving the unlovable. Showing up when you don’t want to. Listening attentively while not thinking of my next comment- (five fingers at self). Negating feelings and instead acting on truth. Acting with integrity when it is inconvenient and unpopular. Caring for those who cannot care for themselves. THIS, I believe, has to be “Higher Love.”

I wish Jesus would just hand us the blueprint of how to navigate relationships, parenting, marriage and well, everything! I know I want to get it right but nonetheless don’t. I wish my secular leaders would at least TRY. This pandemic has stripped us of frivolity and excess. We are forced to be close to our families and I pray fervently that’s a good thing. I know I’ve interacted more with my college-aged sons than I have in years. And of course, at times it gets tricky.

But what if we all attempted Higher Love? We could treat it like bike riding. We would just try, fall, get up, fall and so on. And then one day we wouldn’t have to try so hard anymore. It would certainly make our current predicament more pleasant.

I think I will reread the book. I need to take it slowly this time. I’m thankful for both the author, Patti Callahan, and Steve Winwood’s song for making me even think about Higher Love. I need to start practicing now.

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