EASY LOVER (MLS 2)

My Life’s Soundtrack – Part Two

CAUTION AHEAD! STOP! WRONG WAY! DEAD END!

Bruce is oblivious to the road signs flashing in front of his eyes, as he careers distractedly down the highway, pleading desperately with God for a sign, a signal, guidance, a miracle, anything…

He crashes the car. Of course he blames it on God. Eventually, though, Bruce (Jim Carrey) kneels on the highway in surrender to God, and in so doing is hit by a truck and killed! As you do…

God (played by the magnificent Morgan Freeman) sees the bigger picture and uses all Bruce’s circumstances for the greater good. Bruce is defibrillated back to life – to start living again with a new purpose.

But how did Bruce fail to see the signs?

And does God speak to people who are angry with him? Or even to atheists?

Does God believe in people who don’t believe in him?!

Could it be that there are non-religious, non-faith people everywhere, missing signs that God is giving them?

And how does the film Bruce Almighty manage to address so many profound questions so brilliantly???!

Back in 1985, Easy Lover by Philip Bailey and Phil Collins was in the charts:

She’s the kind of girl you dream of
Dream of keeping hold of
You’d better forget it
You’ll never get it
She will play around and leave you
Leave you and deceive you
Better forget it
Oh you’ll regret it

She’s an easy lover
She’ll get a hold on you believe it
Like no other
Before you know it you’ll be on your knees
She’s an easy lover
She’ll take your heart but you won’t feel it
She’s like no other
And I’m just trying to make you see

I had a job at the time at Martin’s which, for a newsagent, sold all sorts of strange things, like chart records, and Easy Lover was played a lot. I was never a fan of Phil Collins or this record, but as I heard it, the song caught my attention.

I’d been swept up in a whirlwind romance with a girl called Sue. It was a mutual falling-in-love. We were both a bit lost, although I more so. Both of us were looking for adventure.

I was looking for more than adventure – I needed to escape. I was now 19, had left school 18 months earlier, with my A-levels flunked, and was living with my Dad after my parents’ divorce.

My Dad and I didn’t get on. My job at Martin’s, as far as I was concerned, was a dead-end. My friends had gone to university or moved away. I had nothing to live for, aim for, strive for, and still had this unfulfilled yearning to escape (see My Life’s Soundtrack – Part One). It was all I could see myself doing.

Then along came Sue. She was living in France on a 1-year placement as part of her degree in French and philosophy. I’d met her while I was visiting my sister who was also in France for her degree.

A short while after this, Sue came over to England to see me and we were going to camp together somewhere for the weekend. But within 24 hours we’d concocted a mad plan to ‘elope’ to America. We worked out what we’d need to do: withdraw the few hundred quid my parents had saved in a building society account for me since I was little and had just recently released into my name; pick up my passport, rucksack and other bits & bobs from home; hitch-hike up to London to obtain visas from the American Embassy; then hitch to Gatwick to catch the cheapest single flight to New York.

To be honest, it started as a joke, a hypothetical strategy: what would we need to do if we eloped to America?

But, with nothing to lose (at least in my case), we impetuously started acting out the reckless plan, and within 3 or 4 days of meeting back up in England, we were sitting on a plane to the USA. Astounded at our own audacity, we laughingly asked each other, “What the **** are we doing?!” It was a wild, impulsive, romantic adventure.

We planned to spend a few years travelling the States (in the end we were there just 6 months, hitch-hiking, getting stoned, weaving our way through some crazy adventures. The early return was precipitated by Sue’s decision to return to university to finish her degree – a decision which I encouraged).

On our way to Gatwick, we’d stopped at a friend’s place and told him what we were doing. We told no one else: my Dad, my Mum, my other friends, Martin’s, no one. Once again I was reported by my Dad to the police as a missing person.

Just days earlier I had been working in Martin’s, bored witless, being subjected to some dire chart records, and yet somehow bothered by that song Easy Lover.

I wasn’t religious, I wasn’t even superstitious, and I certainly wasn’t in any way spiritual. I was a diehard atheist, an immature, messed-up, selfish 19-year-old, with no life philosophy other than ‘sex & drugs & rock ‘n’ roll’, and ‘I’ll try anything once, except heroin’!

So why did this song bother me?

No you’ll never change her, so leave it, leave it
Get out quick cos seeing is believing
It’s the only way
You’ll ever know

Easy lover
She’ll get a hold on you believe it
Like no other
Before you know it you’ll be on your knees
She’s an easy lover
She’ll take your heart but you won’t feel it
She’s like no other
And I’m just trying to make you see

You’re the one that wants to hold her
Hold her and control her
You’d better forget it
You’ll never get it
For she’ll say there’s no other
Till she finds another
Better forget it
Oh you’ll regret it

Somewhere deep inside (I didn’t really, consciously, register it) the song seemed to be a warning about this relationship.

In hindsight, if something – or God – was warning me about what I was getting myself into, I certainly wasn’t ready to hear it. But if it was God warning me, he was of course right!

One year later, 6 months after returning to the UK from America, in the Spring of 1986, the inevitable break-up occurred, involving Sue’s unfaithfulness, me being threatened with a gun by the new boyfriend, followed by being physically thrown out of his house on to the ground outside by him and his mate.

Sue had been my infatuation, my world. Now my world came crashing down around me, leaving me bereft, bereaved and humiliated.

Does God speak to atheists? Had God been speaking to me through that song? And if he was, would he have expected that immature atheist teenager to listen and respond?

I’ll let you decide the answers to those questions.

But like in Bruce Almighty, although there was no way at that time I could have heeded any sort of warning from anybody, it seems an ‘unseen hand’ was behind the whole chain of events – from meeting Sue, to embarking on those wild times in the States, to being cast aside and crushed like refuse – bringing everything together in a bigger plan to a greater conclusion.

You may interpret events differently, but I look back and see how the One I’d never believed in oversaw and utilised all those circumstances, to bring me eventually (not till October 1987) to the ultimate Healer, and to the start of a whole new adventure – one of following Jesus.

Being able to look back and understand the way he worked in my life throughout those times, I’m grateful now for everything that happened. Because the end result has been the most amazing thing ever!

Without my pride being broken in 1986, I would perhaps never have been able to start to search for meaning and truth. Maybe my mind would never have been opened to spiritual things, and I’d never have found this incredible new life.

My story of love found, love betrayed and lost, is by no means unusual.

I’m also not the only one who’s found the ultimate antidote!

The Father is a love divine, a faithful friend, a firm foundation, to millions. His love heals the pain of our rejections and betrayals, and gives us capacity to forgive and to give, as we share in the love and power of the crucified, death-conquering, persecutor-forgiving Saviour’s love.

Years later this love led me to Janine, whose unswerving, devoted love has been a source of immense healing. God’s love is demonstrated through human beings. This love, this Saviour, has been and still is the most solid foundation for our relationship.

His love led me from chaotic, selfish relationships, to successful, steadfast, happy marriage.

Have you read – or missed – any signs lately?

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3 thoughts on “EASY LOVER (MLS 2)

  1. NancybAguilera says:

    I remember this period in your life Roj. And yes, I look back and see lots of signs I ignored along the way. Our Father loves us desperately and I do believe he uses means like these to get our attention. I am so, so glad you came to the Lord, and that he led you to Janine. You are “my brother from another mother” (an American saying whose meaning I hope comes across the way it’s intended to), and you were instrumental in me coming to give my life to Jesus. Because I knew you then, I knew you were an atheist, and when I saw the change in your life I was astounded. I remember you Roger, I remember.

    • Thanks, Nancy. As I’m sure you know, your whole family is very, very special to me for the hospitality I was shown both in LA and in Lewes over the years, and for the way I experienced true family and community. They really felt like my second (or even first!) family during more than one period in my life. My experience of East LA was just amazing, and the first time I ever went to church willingly was there. It will definitely be featuring in a future blog, entitled California Dreaming! BTW, I like your expression – I haven’t heard that one before!

  2. […] was curtailed by Sue’s return to University in October ‘85 and our subsequent split in ‘86 (see My Life’s Soundtrack: Part Two – Easy Lover), all I’d wanted was to return to the States, visit all the places I hadn’t got round to the […]

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