I’ve been running around a lot lately. Literally, running. Athletic shoes on feet, water bottle in hand, goos in pocket (they’re energy snacks—sounds appetizing, right?), and iPod in the other hand. It’s actually my roommate’s iPod so my ears are at the mercy of her musical tastes. Thankfully I like her style.
Ingrid Michaelson has been on repeat a lot. And I confess, it’s partly because me and my roommate Becky hope to form an indie-pop band where we sing songs like “Keep Breathing.” I would be on piano, Becky on guitar, and she’ll rope another friend in to play violin.
Anyway, this is leading to a point. Yesterday the song “Are We There Yet” from her Everybody album came on. It’s about love and yearning for love. Sometimes this theme rubs me the wrong way because the person yearning for love also announces their worthlessness without it. Love is great, but I think human beings are worth much more than the number of people who tell them “I love you.” So initially, I feared the song was going in a depressing direction.
They say that home is where the heart is.
I guess I haven’t found my home.
But then I got to these lines:
They say you’re really not somebody
Until somebody else loves you
Well, I am waiting to make somebody
I’d like to think that Ingrid isn’t necessarily agreeing with the first two lines of this stanza, but rather, that she’s using that context to make a statement about the less-recognized side of love—the giving of it. The singer is not just waiting to be loved, she’s waiting to give her love. She’s not solely concerned with being the recipient. She wants to offer herself. To let her heart wash over someone else’s and give it life. It’s a selfless, rather than a selfish, act.
There are many different definitions of love, not all of them good. In my opinion, not all of them right.
In many romantic movies, love is something chased. It’s something sought after for one’s self. And the chasing and seeking comes out of a heart that is needy and unfulfilled. Girl meets boy who makes her feel good. Girl chases boy, grows increasingly attracted to him, likes the attention he gives her, and falls “in love.” This, to me, falls short of real love. In these scenarios, if the chased person becomes less appealing in any way, they are no longer worth loving.
But I think Ingrid gives a glimpse of real love when she says she’s waiting to “make somebody / somebody soon.” She recognizes that love is not only received, it is given. And love is given, not because we feel like giving it, but because there is a person of value who needs to see that they are, in fact, somebody.
I don’t think love gives value to a person (and so it could be argued that Ingrid and I disagree on that point), but I do think that love given can help a person see their inherent value.
People are worth loving. Even when they are annoying, inconsiderate, loud, shy, strange or delusional. We all are crazy at some point, right? Go show somebody that they’re really, truly somebody today.