In My Life….Forever!

There was a moment on Thursday afternoon where it felt as though the world connected in a strange yet powerful and sadly very common reality.  While riding in the car while visiting the collegiate, I learned of the passing of Prince.  I felt numb.  I listened as Philadelphia suspended the normal playlist and opted to focus the entire afternoon and evening featuring the work of the genius we loss.  So many memories flooded my mind.  The boy group at Horace Mann Elementary during 8th grade, who titled themselves “International Lovers.”  Or, the afternoon spent in my friend Tracy’s bedroom playing a Prince album backwards to hear supposedly demonic voices.  I laughed thinking about going on my first date with a boy to see Purple Rain in the theatre and assuming that the connection bonded us for life (Delirious).  I fast forwarded to my daughter being very young and crooning “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” to her, and her smile warming my heart with a love I could never have imagined.  There were also a plethora of songs that I sang not understanding, not even partially until decades later (shhhhh!).  Every corner of my social media timeline was filled with expressions of grief, love and appreciation – and of course, one’s favorite Prince song.  As typical of me, my favorite is not at the top of the traditional playlist, but instead sat quietly on a popular album.  Just as the words to songs that made Tipper flip out which I had little idea as to the meaning went unchecked, my favorite Prince song’s lyrics morphed to a different philosophy than what was perhaps perceived; but then again, we are speaking of the Artist, and the depth of the interpretation of his music is likened to a mathematical equation requiring a lifetime to solve.  So, even though it possesses an alternative meaning for me now, doesn’t mean our beloved Prince didn’t intend that all along.  Let me explain.

The song, “Forever In My Life” on the Sign O’ The Times album is my favorite.  I teased with my college roomie of how much I played this song – it was because I was in love (or so I believed) and ready to settle down (or so I thought) to my then boyfriend.  The first stanza of the song tells it all:

La da da da da da da da
La da da da da da da da
There comes a time, in every man’s life
When he get’s tired of foolin’ around
Juggling hearts in a three ring circus
Someday will drive a body down 2 the ground
I never imagined that love would rain on me
And make me want 2 settle down
Baby it’s true, I think I do
And I just wanna tell U that I wanna with U (baby, if U do 2)
And baby if U do 2
Forever, forever, baby I want U forever
I wanna keep U 4 the rest of my life (U can make right)
All that is wrong in my world (U are my saviour)
U can make right (U are my light)
U are my saviour, U are my light (Forever I want U in my life)
Forever I want U in my life

I put so much stock into that relationship.  It was for me the most impressive opportunity for me to fully express and be accepted for who I was, in my imperfection and my flaws.  I put so much energy into it, only to find that the assumed recipient was perhaps humming the same la da da, but to a couple of other people.  The romance ended very badly, and I did what many who are hurt and seeking answers do – look for the one who loves unconditionally, the one who never leaves or forsakes you, the one who loves you despite the imperfection with a perfect love.  I found Jesus – you know the Jesus external from the Jesus I was acquainted with through my mother.  His love was there all along, but I’d not put the energy into it nearly as much as I did to manufacture relationships.  So, I looked at the second stanza, but through the lens of my relationship with my authentic Prince of Peace:

There comes a road in every man’s journey (don’t be afraid)
A road that he’s afraid 2 walk on his own (I’m at that road)
I’m here 2 tell U that I’m at that road (I’d rather walk it with)
And I’d rather walk it (U than walk it alone)
with U than walk it alone (U are my future)
U are my hero, U are my future (no past)
When I am with U, I have no past
Oh baby my one and only desire (make this feelin’ last)
Is find some way in this doggone world (sugar it’s true)
2 make this feelin’ last (I know I do)
Oh baby it’s true, I know I do (2 with U)
And I just wanna tell U that I
want 2 with U, yeah
And baby if U do 2
Forever, forever, I want U baby, baby forever (U can make right)
I wanna keep U 4 the rest of my life (U are my saviour)
All that is wrong in my world (U are my light)
U can make right (Forever I want U in my life)
U are my saviour, U are my light (La da da da da da da da)
Forever I want U in my life (La da da da da da da da)

It was scary (and still sometimes is) to assume the walk with God.  Yet, I am comforted to know that he guides my footsteps and tells me wherever the soles of my feet shall tred, he’s already given to me (Deuteronomy 11:24); that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23); and that he will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).  How could I fathom being anything but prosperous by walking with him – and as Prince said, “I’d rather walk with him than walk alone.”  “He is my hero, he is my future, when I am with him, I have no past!” Insert a shout right there! No matter what we’ve done, it was addressed at Calvary! Jesus bore the sin of the world and through him we are a new creature (II Corinthians 5:7).  What joy we are afforded in relinquishing the weight of our past decisions, actions and thoughts.  To God be the Glory! As the lyrics further there is a desire to find a way in this mixed up world to make the experience of not enabling personal history to disturb the beauty of the present and hope associated with the future.  The best methodology for ensuring that to happen is holding tight to God, because indeed all that is wrong in our world (i.e. our relationships, our bodies, our jobs, our ministry) he can make right (Isaiah 43:16-19).  He is our Savior (Luke 2:11) and He is our light (John 8:12).  Yet the crux for me, is the final line and coincidentally the title of the song, “Forever I Want You In My Life.”  I don’t desire to do it without him!

Prince, may you rest well.  Indeed you are a beautiful one.  Thank you for the music you left behind for us.  To my Prince of Peace, thank you for the sacrifice you made, and the gift of salvation you left behind for us.  As a result, I can do “this thing called life.” La da da da da da da da…

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