Christianity · Hope

Hopeless Wanderer

You heard my voice
I came out of the woods by choice
Shelter also gave their shade
And in the dark I have no name

So leave that click in my head
And I will remember the words that you said
Left a clouded mind and a heavy heart

But I was sure we could see a new start

So when your hope’s on fire
But you know your desire

Don’t hold a glass over the flame
Don’t let your heart grow cold

I will call you by name
I will share your road

But hold me fast, Hold me fast
Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer
And hold me fast, Hold me fast
Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer

I wrestled long with my youth
We tried so hard to live in the truth

But do not tell me all is fine
When I lose my head, I lose my spine

So leave that click in my head
And I will remember the words that you said
You brought me out from the cold
Now, how I long, how I long to grow old

So when your hope’s on fire
But you know your desire
Don’t hold a glass over the flame
Don’t let your heart grow cold
I will call you by name
I will share your road

But hold me fast, Hold me fast
Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer
And hold me fast, Hold me fast
Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer

And I will learn, I will learn to love the skies I’m under
And I will learn, I will learn to love the skies I’m under
The skies I’m under

Those are the full lyrics to the band Mumford and Sons’ musical adventure entitled “Hopeless Wanderer.” I urge you to go listen to it, at least three times…

Go ahead…

I’ll wait…

Done? Okay let me begin,

I haven’t written here in a while and for a few reasons, and only a couple of them good. Let’s just say major life changes for this Christian man and self proclaimed lay churchman. I do and do not have lots of free time as of present, and for all the right reasons.

But I digress…

The song I opened with, those lyrics you should have read and music you should have listened to, are my favorite song by the aforementioned band. In this blog article I want to explain why.

The way I hear and read those lyrics, there are two actors in this song, yes, it tells a story.
The story of a man on a journey. This journey is purposeful and lonely. Yet there is something he longs for, true purpose and a reason to belong. From the opening line, “I came out of the woods by choice,” we hear the main actor’s desire to leave the uncertain life of the wilderness. The cold dark and damp woods, where there is fear and uncertainty of life, though still a place where life may be lived. “In the dark I have no name,” the actor speaks to his having no real identity. The woods are a place where he is nameless, unknown to anyone, the substance he has which he desires is the reason he comes out from the woods.

Our principal actor then gives us a clue as to what has done it, “that click in my head.” It’s words, words said by an unknown person the “Click” in our story. It’s a click, our actor is musically inclined and the click is something to keep a musician on the beat, consistent. To remind him of what he needs to do.

We then hear the second person of our story, it’s the voice giving him the click, those words that were said, “When hope is stronger; when you become reminded of the desire within; Don’t let the candle go out, don’t lose that desire; for I will call you the name which you never knew you had, I will go and SHARE your road.”

We are then returned to our principle actor and find his identity, the “Hopeless Wanderer.” He is assured of that “Click’s” voice. So much so he reminds the “Click”, “Hold me fast.” He repeats the refrain so as to ensure the “Click” stays with him.

The Wanderer reminisces of times gone by, why he perhaps found himself in the woods in the first place? Wrestling with the truth, finding that he went crazy from losing his backbone; from losing the structure and solidarity of that truth once known and that he so long ago wrestled with.

He then speaks back to the “Click,” reminding them why he holds them so dear, the words given; the sharing of personal space, the passive departure from the cold. Now he wishes to remain where he “long[s] to grow old.”

The Click then repeats the words our Wanderer clings to.

“When hope is stronger; when you become reminded of the desire within; Don’t let the candle go out, don’t lose that desire; for I will call you the name which you never knew you had, I will go and SHARE your road.”

And our Wanderer finishes his anthem of solemnity. A solemnity that is identified by the last line repeated… “I will learn to love the skies I’m under.” Our Wanderer is rescued, to no longer wander, but rather to remain and be steadfast. To regain his spine, to keep the flame alive and from under the glass, to come out of the cold, and have someone share his road.

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This song could be an allegory of a lover found after a life of “wandering,” or as an allegory of Christian salvation. It is truly a very precious song to me for the latter reason, but for the sake of being a hopeless romantic the former may work just as well. It has always been a difficult thing for me, the subjectivity of music lyrics. But on occasion they are so ambiguous and the music so delightful; so strong and hitting me so deeply… subjectivity sits quite well with this formerly hopeless wanderer.

I pray God rescue the hopeless wanderer within you, the reader. For Jesus Christ is the only true and glorious hope.

“He shot his arrows
into my heart.
I have become the laughingstock of all people,

their mocking song all day long.
He has given me my fill of bitter herbs

and made me drunk with bitterness.
He ground my teeth in gravel;

he trampled me in the dust
I am deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is.
So I said, “My endurance has expired;

I have lost all hope of deliverance from the Lord.”
Remember my impoverished and homeless condition,

which is a bitter poison.
I continually think about this,

and I am depressed.
But this I call to mind;

therefore I have hope:
The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases;

his compassions never end.
They are fresh every morning;

your faithfulness is abundant!
“My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself,

so I will put my hope in him.
The Lord is good to those who trust in him,

to the one who seeks him.
It is good to wait patiently

for deliverance from the Lord.
It is good for a man

to bear the yoke while he is young.
Let a person sit alone in silence,

when the Lord is disciplining him.
Let him bury his face in the dust;

perhaps there is hope.
Let him offer his cheek to the

one who hits him;
let him have his fill of insults. For the Lord will not
reject us forever.
Though he causes us grief, he then has compassion on us

according to the abundance of his loyal kindness.
For he is not predisposed to afflict

or to grieve people.
To crush underfoot

all the earth’s prisoners,
to deprive a person of his rights

in the presence of the Most High,
to defraud a person in a lawsuit – 

the Lord does not approve of such things!
Whose command was ever fulfilled

unless the Lord decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that everything comes – 

both calamity and blessing?
Why should any living person complain

when punished for his sins?
Let us carefully examine our ways,

and let us return to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:13–40 (NET Bible)

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