This week we have celebrated Valentine’s Day. The day traditionally formed part of the Christian calendar remembering the martyrdom of St Valentine but has now mostly morphed into an annual commercial celebration of love. However, the origins of the festival are somewhat reflected in this week’s song, Queen’s Too Much Love Will Kill You.
When Brian May wrote the song he is reputed to having been reflecting on the dilemma he faced being stuck between the breakdown of his first marriage and his new found love for his now wife Anita Dobson. This is reflected in lyrics:
Too much love will kill you if you can’t make up your mind. Torn between the lover, and the love you leave behind.
May’s lyrics throughout the song describe an overwhelming sense of despair and disappointment:
I’m just the shadow of the man I used to be … Every way I go I have to lose.
Yet they also reflect a deeper, paradoxical concept which hints at the truth of love beyond the cards and presents which characterise the modern St Valentine’s Day experience.
Ooh, too much love will kill you just as sure as none at all.
Love is a risky concept. To love means to take a chance, to make ourselves vulnerable, to give of our self. There is a sacrificial nature to love. Love goes beyond friendship and representational giving. It moves us to sharing more profoundly and deeply, sharing sacrificially of ourselves. This in turn makes us more vulnerable to hurt.
In this sense, the idea that too much love will kill you represents a truth in that sometimes being vulnerable to love can leave us hurt. Yet there is also truth in the paradox that protecting ourselves from the potential of that pain can also lead to hurt; too much love will kill you just as sure as none at all.
So, where does this lead us in terms of considering our own wellbeing. Well, my reflection is that life is never straight forward, and love reflects this. Putting love at the centre of our being and behaviours doesn’t mean everything will turn out neat and tidy, at may even hurt, but ultimately, it’s the only meaningful choice we have if we are to live experiencing a fullness of life.
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