In a society which seems to be getting more divided by the day, this week’s song, Into My Arms, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, offers a very different narrative on responding to differences in ideas and beliefs.
When it comes to our personal, and indeed our communal wellbeing as a society, isolation, division and ‘othering’ (making groups of people to be something different to you – somehow less human) causes us so much damage. Damage on an emotional level with hurt being expressed and experienced and a sense of a lack of hope and trust in one another. Damage on an intellectual level with our ideas becoming insular and lacking the expansiveness nature build through the challenge of different ideas. Damage on a social and spiritual level with our relationships being denied and love lost.
It seems as if, as a society, we have lost the ability to disagree well. Lost the ability to welcome and not just tolerate difference and diversity. It’s one of the many reasons I love this song so much.
I don't believe in an interventionist God. But I know, darling, that you do.
This powerful opening line expresses the commitment beyond even the most intimate and life defining states to which we might commit. Our faith can be one of the most defining positions we might take in life, yet this opening line expresses the intention that agreement over faith is not important. There is a commitment beyond needing to share beliefs to respecting the beliefs of the other person. Valuing the diversity of each individual to hold their own set of ideas.
The second verse builds on this commitment to a person rather than their beliefs:
And I don't believe in the existence of angels. But looking at you I wonder if that's true.
Beyond just tolerating someone might believe something different, there is an expression of curiosity. What if? We don’t need to agree with someone to ask what if? We can imaginatively, explore the beliefs of other people with the curiosity we often used to bring to situations as a child. A willingness to accept other people may see something different to us. A willingness to understand the thoughts and experiences their beliefs are really based on. A willingness to listen and explore rather than jumping straight to judgement.
And the final verse nails it!
And I believe in love. And I know that you do too. And I believe in some kind of path that we can walk down, me and you.
Ultimately, a commitment to love is a commitment to find the common human ground and develop shared experiences. Experiences that seeks to listen to the beliefs of others and explore the hopes and fears together with a commitment to developing love for all.
If I can just engage a little more of the sentiment of this song in my life over the coming week, I have no doubt the world around me will be just that little bit better a place in which to live.
Need a little help finding common ground and unity? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood.
Taken from the album:
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash