Why Love and Fulfillment is Not Found in Relationships: The Black Keys’ Everlasting Light
“Your glory outshines all—everything. All things. I am eclipsed by the greatness of your throne and who you are. My weak words do not paint the picture that should be brushed. Never-ending. An eternally bright light. A thousand blasts of Supernova light pale in comparison to your greatness and majesty.”
Such are the words I penned when first hearing The Black Keys’ popular ballad “Everlasting Light.” My words were not a reaction to this song but, oddly and perhaps coincidently, just before the song began playing on my well-tilled and refined Pandora playlist. Many songs play-by unnoticed, unless they are particularly egregious (like screeching wombats ready for a scuffle) or surprisingly unique (a rare thing indeed). Most songs float by unnoticed.
But when the phrase “Let me be your everlasting light” resounded over and over, I felt immediately a rush of joy and bliss—like being wrapped in a blanket of love.
And while many no doubt take offense to this source where the gospel is being preached, Christ nevertheless sings this song over you and I. He calls out to the masses through such pieces of art inspired in the minds and hearts of simple, lost sheep.
The lyrics, (which can be read here to the side), speak of one who wants to be our everlasting light, a shepherd to guide us, one whom we can confide in and whom comforts us in our loneliness. No one else but the Father can be the “train” taking us away from suffering and pain fueled by his love, the fuel and coal driving us away from the darkness of our lives.
These images and words can only be made true and full in the person of Jesus Christ. This perfect love, and the desire for it, is woven into our core. Like the billions of lives before us, throughout all time and space, humans have longed to be loved. Yet depths of this desired love has always lacked the luster of the fantasy. Aimlessly blind, we search for this kind of love in those we encounter—those looking for such similar affection. “Perhaps he is the one. Cute. Kind. Fun. And, oh, how he makes me feel! I am sooo in love.” Such phrases are furiously penned in journals and spoken with glee to close confidants the world over.
And while such affection is a blessing and a joy, human relationships are often put above and in the place of Christ and of our creator. Relationships become idols and antichrists. They are false gods to whom we worship and apply (and expect) divine characteristics and qualities from people and relationships which can never be made manifest. And when one’s husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend fails to meet the impossible standards to which we set and expect, the fuzzy feelings fade and the fantasy shatters.
Human affection and love is not perfect, omnipresent, omnipotent, and infinitely merciful. And while this is what we desire, looking for it in each other, a perfect love can only be found in a perfect person—Christ himself. Our relationships and love are mere shadows of this perfect love.
And while well-meaning, The Black Keys’ video for “Everlasting Light” chronicles the omnipresent nature of their love. The visages of the Black Keys Duo, Dan Aerbach and Patrick Carney, appear in all places throughout different environments—as paintings, birthday cakes, piñatas, and coffee mugs seemingly watching people even in their most intimate settings. They are ever present—a symbol of true and eternal love; an everlasting light.
In the absence of Christ, the desire for such love naturally is sought in human relationships and inevitably leads to disappointment and dissatisfaction.
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