The Hope of Adele

The Hope of Adele February 14, 2012

I was in a public place recently and heard an older gentleman tell a joke about a 30-something woman who was despairing over not being married.

Such jokes don’t amuse me — it doesn’t matter if the women are portrayed as single, pregnant, want-to-be pregnant, divorced, blonde, anorexic, fat, or grannies — especially when it’s men who are doing the telling. I’m even less amused when the men doing the telling are standing behind a pulpit, as this particular gentleman was.

If you are that single person who longs for the companionship of a soul-mate that you hope & pray God has for you, such jokes are hurtful.  I know so many people — both men and women — who have yet to experience the kind of delight and intimacy that comes with a love that lasts through the decades.

I could spend a lot of time and energy debating why it is men in the pulpits rarely deliver these sorts of jokes about 30-year-old men who are single, but it would be a waste. Nobody is going to get up in a pulpit and poke fun at men who aren’t married. (First and foremost because the church is still so homophobic.) Within the church, it seems, men are still expected to deny a broken heart, whereas, women are expected to confess it.

I’m not so old, or so long married, that I don’t remember what a broken heart feels like. I’ve watched one of my children deal with a broken engagement and I’ve sat up late at night with more than one child who has struggled with the overwhelming rejection of a love denied.

It’s never easy to give up the dream you have for the one you don’t.

I was thinking about all this while watching the Grammys. In an interview with 60 Minutes Anderson Cooper, British singer Adele told Cooper that it was heartbreak that has led to the greatest moments of her life. She wrote Rolling in the Deep out of anger and frustration

“I wrote it very selfishly to get over a break-up,” the 23-year-old Adele told Cooper.

Rolling in the Deep was the top single of 2011.  Her album has sold 18 million copies.

Adele says she’s surprised at how many people relate to her, given that Rolling in the Deep is really just a love song.

A love song about the love that didn’t last.

We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me) 

But you played it
You played it
You played it
You played it to the beat.

Adele says that she wrote the songs to console herself. To remind herself that one day she would find someone better, someone who would make her happy.

In essence, Adele was writing her way out of despair into a place of hope.

Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold


God can take our greatest sorrows and disappointments and transform them into treasured gold.

God is in the business of creating anew, broken dreams and broken hearts.

In the novel The Healing, author Jonathon Odell puts it this way: “In the beginning God created. That’s all anybody needs to know about God.”

On St. Valentine’s Day and throughout the year, instead of making our brokenhearted sisters and brothers the brunt of old maid or homophobic jokes, shouldn’t we be doing what Adele has done and offer them words of hope?

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