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The Reason Life goes Sour

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…,

1 John 1:8

On a flight to Africa, in the mid-sixties, Joni Mitchell wrote a song titled, Both Sides Now. It was a tale about clouds, love, and life. Her concluding thought after each stanza was the same. Her once young and fanciful notions regarding clouds, love, and life had become obscured by the realities of life. Disillusioned and disheartened, the idealism of her youth had worn thin under more practical concerns. In the end she looked at clouds, love, and life much differently than she had as a child. It is a good song with a powerful message.

Clouds come and go without our permission and interrupt the best laid plans of mice and men. The feathered canyons of swirling angel hair float away on a breeze revealing arid rock quarrels. Clouds fill our minds with ice cream castles and then rain on us. We would have accomplished great things if clouds hadn’t clouded our path. Beyond being in our way, we really don’t know clouds at all.

Love is a tangled web of continuous confusion. It burns hot and then cools off quicker than a bowl of soup on a winter day. Feelings of love spins us round like a Ferris wheel at a summer fair and then leaves us feeling dizzy when the ride ends. Our long list of failed romances begins to look like just another show. The only satisfaction we enjoy is to leave them laughing when we go. In the best of relationships love can appear like an illusion.

Life was meant to bring us the soft winds of contentment, but instead, we encounter the blowing squalls of disappointment and emptiness. Life causes fears and tears, with schemes and dreams, but all of this quickly shifts, and living becomes mundane. Old friends wag their heads and say we have changed. Life has altered us and not always for the better. We’ve experienced the before and after of clouds, love, and life and became disenchanted.

Joni Mitchell’s song rings true. Clouds used to be more fun. The excitement of love flattens over time, and the adventure of life can quickly turn into drudgery. The enthusiasm of youth inevitably gives way to the grueling realities of life. It was never meant to be this way. God had higher plans for us. We were meant to ride on clouds, flourish in love, and rejoice in life. It’s time we get to the source of the trouble with clouds, love, and life.

It is past time we understood that our real problems lay within our own hearts. If we could enter the throne room of our hearts, we would encounter a crusty, old, mean-spirited king named Self. King Self goes by many names: Flesh, Sin, the Old Man. However, whatever he is called, he desires the center stage. He has been ruling our lives from the very beginning, and he has made a total mess of things. This king has no intent of releasing his grip of power without a violent coup being staged. He projects himself as quite reasonable and sane, but he is neither. King Self is the reason clouds, love, and life implode.

This is an exempt from my next book, Man’s search for Cabadgery.


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