bedouin dress by fleet foxes
2022 / April 2022

If to borrow is to take and not return

Bedouin Dress by Fleet Foxes

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash

This week Retune is trying something a little different. As one of my PhD supervisors once said to me, meaning is what you bring to a situation. So, we are going to think about what we might find as meaning in the opening lines of the Fleet Foxes’ Bedouin Dress.

If to borrow is to take and not return, I have borrowed all my lonesome life. And I can’t, no I can’t get through. The borrower’s debt is the only regret of my youth. And believe me it’s not easy when I look back, everything I took got soon returned.

When I hear these lyrics my first thought is that this is a song about someone who, after a life of thinking primarily of themselves has started to rethink. They have begun to feel the impact of their choices and to recognise the temporal nature of their gains.

If you look at how others have interpreted the song you’ll begin to find different ideas. Perhaps it is a song about love taken selfishly? You might begin to focus on the significance of other lyrics, such as Innisfree, perhaps a reference to a Yates poem and the symbolism of utopia. Or perhaps, like some, you read the story of a thief reflecting on their life.

The point is, as with many of our experiences and ideas in life, what we see often has more to do with us than it does what we are considering. And this is important, because if you are looking at something with a feeling of despair today, knowing the feeling is coming from you rather than the exterior experience puts it in perspective. As has often been said: we see as we are rather than what is. And this means things can change.

Click here to book a coaching session with the author of Retune, Dr Dave Wood.

Exploring and co-creating #wellbeing4all and community theology with individuals, businesses and communities. For the many, not the few.