Thursday, August 07, 2008

Howard Jones and the Meaning of Life

Howard Jones. This name, depending on how "old" you are, may have stirred up images unbidden to your mind, images from a faraway past; images of parachute pants, breakdancing, big hair (exhibit A), scenes from random movies involving, perhaps, John Cusack or Sean Astin from Goonies. Ah yes, the 80's... I grew up in the 80's and was shaped by the soundtracks of John Williams, the movies of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and yes, the lyrics from songs like Pink Houses, Cherry Bomb, and artists like Bruce Springsteen, Journey, and Mr. Howard Jones. The 80's culture wasn't all squealing guitars and bad hair you know (except maybe Flock of Seagulls... Now that was some bad hair). As in every time and place, there were human beings with the same longings and desires of the heart for love and beauty and freedom that there are today. As I re-listen to the songs I used to love, I realize that there were some profound truths whispering through the big honkin' headphones of my big clunky Walkman. So let he without Reboks cast the first stone... Ponder these lines from the song Everlasting Love by Howard J. He wasn't looking for a pretty face She wasn't searching for the latest style He didn't want someone who walked straight off the TV She needed someone with an interior smile This is what Pope John Paul II would allude to in his teaching on human sexuality as the "interior gaze" that men and women should have for one another... To see the person and not just the parts... the soul and personality shining through the human body. She wasn't looking for a cuddle in the back seat He wasn't looking for a five minute thrill She wasn't thinking of tomorrow or of next week This vacancy he meant to permanently fill YES! Love is meant to be exclusive, faithful, more than a flash in the pan. Howard, you are the man. And then he cries out with a longing that I know echoes in my heart, and must in every heart... a longing that betrays the lies of our wounded culture that sees sex as the be all and end all of life here below. No, human love is pointing towards a Love Divine, and "Everlasting Love!" That's why we are so caught up in it in our movies and our music. I need an everlasting love I need a friend and a lover divine An everlasting precious love Wait for it, wait for it, give it some time Wow... so today, in the office or in the car, listen in to those "soft rock" stations, try and discern in the lyrics of these lovers this longing for More. We can't deny it... we are made for it. Let's end with another icon of the 80's.... John Cougar Mellencamp: A million young poets Screamin' out their words Maybe someday Those words will be heard By future generations Ridin' on the highways that we built Maybe they'll have a better understanding Maybe they'll have a better understanding....
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