When I was a preteen and teenager, I was fond of the music of PM Dawn, which I have written about before at some length . My favorite song of PM Dawn was (and is) a song that is sufficiently vague that it can refer to a variety of types of love. Being a romantic at heart (something that ought to be easy enough to understand), I took the song as a child to refer to romantic love, but the song itself can have spiritual undertones and even darker undertones as well. The song is “Looking Through Patient Eyes,” and it seems likely that PM Dawn was singing about their hopes that God (and Jesus Christ) would look at their fumbling and abortive attempts to follow God’s ways as they understood it with patient eyes rather than condemnation. Despite being a group with generally decent conduct and life by the standards of the world, at least as far as I know it (aside from their gluttony), their music had a strong melancholy edge that was strongly influenced by their gnostic religious beliefs.
“Looking Through Patient Eyes” has a lot of very mystical and theological language in its verses that most people have paid little attention to, but its popularity appears to be do to the rather lovely chorus, which goes like this:
“Whatever it is I do, I try to think about you.
I have a love for you that nothing hides.
Whatever it is I do, I’m only thinking of you.
I hope you look at me through patient eyes .”
These are sentiments that anyone can relate to (I know I can!). Anyone who has ever loved anyone or anything has desired to be looked at with patient eyes, to have one’s flaws and shortcomings viewed with a great deal of forebearance and tolerance, to avoid any sort of painful ruptures. This is true whether we are speaking about our love for God and Jesus Christ, our romantic love, or our friends and family. Being the sort of person who has always been rather obvious, despite my best attempts to blend in (which have never been very good, as I’ve always been too honestly quirky to blend in wherever I have been), I have desired the patience of a great deal of people around me, a desire that has only grown more fervent with increasing levels of serious concern as I have gotten older and more aware of my own vulnerability in this world to all kinds of evil thoughts and speech and action. Of course, for PM Dawn, as gnostics, their belief in their state of spiritual blessedness was tied with their emotional state. The stress and unhappiness of life as pop singers, and their own feeling of moral failure as a result of their own sins and weaknesses led them to write increasingly dark and gloomy songs where they agonized over their spiritual state and the unhappiness of life in this world, viewing that unhappiness as sign of God’s lack of pleasure with them. Heaven forbid that our happiness should ever depend on our unstable and unsteady feelings (1 John 3:20-21).
While I loved PM Dawn’s song during my youth, and still do as a pleasant pop song, as a matter of fact, albeit with a certain sense of concern about its gnostic worldview, I was unaware of the fact that the song itself samples one of the songs that has always creeped me out. From childhood to this day the song “Father Figure” by George Michael has given me a viscerally unpleasant feeling that is deeply powerful and deeply difficult to explain. A sample of the lyrics ought to express at least some of my concern about the song’s message and its personal relevance to me:
“That’s all I wanted,
But sometimes love can be mistaken
For a crime.
That’s all I wanted,
Just to see my baby’s
Blue eyed shine.
This time I think that my lover
If we have faith in each other
Then we can be strong .”
Let us remember first that these are probably the least creepy lines in the song, but that doesn’t make them any less ominous as an ode to pederasty. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time, but nonetheless I was deeply disturbed by the lyrics, which are quite frankly very dark and unpleasant. The fact that a song about very dark and evil immoral and illegal activities was transformed into an ode to spiritual love is itself somewhat disturbing, although it appears likely that the attempt was to redeem a song with an evil message by repurposing it as a song about godly love, similar to the technique of the Hebrew psalmists in constructing hymns that were direct responses to the heathen hymns of their Baal-worshiping neighbors, something that was hinted at in the psalms themselves (especially those that refer to the deeps or other heathen concepts) and was confirmed when hymns were found at Ugarit.
For the past few months I have been dealing with a particularly stressful situation that has been the subject of much thought, much painful reflection, and a great deal of stress. It just so happens that this particular Feast of Tabernacles has been very stressful for me in trying to determine exactly what is going on, and I am sure that this matter is not stressful only for me but for others as well. It is a difficult thing to see oneself through the eyes of one’s enemies, to understand what one is doing that might cause offense or problems but being unable to behave in a way that could not be seen in a negative light. To know that one is causing offense but to not be able to avoid causing offense because everything one does is being scrutinized in an unfriendly manner is something of immense stress to me.
As might be imagined, it is not a situation I tend to handle very well. For reasons beyond my present understanding, apparently it is a situation I am supposed to be able to handle or be wise enough to avoid at some point, hopefully soon, but for the moment it is a burden that I must bear with as much grace and understanding as possible to everyone involved, myself included. Like PM Dawn, I too write and think odes of love, and hope that people (and God) look at me through patient eyes, knowing full well that despite my best intentions and most earnest desires, some people do not. I am not sure what can be done about that, but in the meantime I do my best to live the best life possible and to let God guide me and try to discipline myself well enough to avoid getting myself in trouble as much as possible. After all, as PM Dawn sang:
“Well, define my love, that lives with in you.
Even when I die, it will sing to you.
You can only tell if remorse has done you well…
The misconstrued my answers due to the
Lack of love… reason .”