It’s unforgettable video for an iconic song, November Rain by Guns’N’Roses. If you haven’t seen it before, and you have nine-minutes to spare, click on the YouTube link. The story starts with the marriage of a happy couple. Full of life and hope and with a packed church of friends. Then, spoiler alert, during the wedding a rainstorm comes, and the bride dies in the ensuing chaos. As the funeral takes place, at the same church, there are less people, a total change in atmosphere. Sadness.
Yet right from the start of the song, the love-struck couple are restrained by an expectation of the challenge of reality:
Nothin' lasts forever, and we both know hearts can change. And it's hard to hold a candle, in the cold November rain.
It’s a curious start to such an upbeat introduction. The couple have found love, perhaps after years of searching; But lovers always come, and lovers always go … The fears remembered from previous experiences of love have already begun to establish their uncertainty.
It’s a strange reality, but often, no matter how secure our current situation, our past can seep through the cracks to create fear and insecurity. It needn’t be about romantic love, as in this song, it could be about anything. Indeed, it is often in times of happiness, or an absence of difficulty, that we begin to return to previous challenges.
I’ve noticed this a lot over the years. Stability seems the most opportune time for the more fundamental questions of life to raise themselves. Perhaps it is because we are better resourced during those times to deal with such emotional and philosophical issues:
And when your fears subside, and shadows still remain … We still can find a way.
Perhaps it’s because we are more resilient at those times:
I know it's hard to keep an open heart, when even friends seem out to harm you.
Perhaps it’s because these are the times when we can risk the most:
If we could take the time, to lay it on the line. I could rest my head, just knowin' that you were mine.
Yet, this most personal of journey’s, self-discovery and growth, is one we need to take both on our own and with the support of others:
Everybody needs some time, on their own … [but] … Everybody needs somebody.
So ultimately, what does the song say? Is the message, we should seek love but expect it to be lost? I think it’s more a message of hope and reality. The idea that we do seek love, but that with all things, we are to treasure all we have which is good, but also hold it lightly. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, put it like this; life is for living, not possessing. Surely this is something also true of all in life we experience which is good, including love.
Need some support to re-assess life? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood.
Taken from the album:
Photo by Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash
And it's hard to hold a candle in the cold November rain.
November Rain by Guns'N'Roses