Friday Non-Random Song: Queen, “Too Much Love Will Kill You”

I’ve always thought of myself as a person who shunned emotional drama, but in this as in so many things, I’ve come to realize that I’m not much different from the rest of the human race. “Love” is many things besides eros: attachment to parents or parent figures, idealization of a community or institution, intimate friendship, or passionate self-projection into a future that may not come true. The fact that my romantic history is as pleasantly simple as a mayonnaise sandwich has not spared me these other forms of rapture and heartbreak.

An enduring dilemma in my spiritual life is how to cherish the world and its people without seeking more solace there than perishable and imperfect human beings can give; how to keep an open heart without trusting foolishly and prematurely. In the Book of Common Prayer, we ask God “that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal” (Collect for Proper 12).

But I’ve been having a crisis of faith lately about the proper priority of Jesus’ two great commandments. Asceticism and hard-heartedness are common overreactions to the painfulness of human love. I see Christians invoking God’s sovereignty as a reason to be deaf to the suffering of non-Christians supposedly condemned to hell, or same-sex-oriented people supposedly condemned to lives of loneliness and deception. God’s love is not enough, or everyone would be a monk.

As for a “personal relationship with Jesus”, I don’t know how I would distinguish that from talking to my novel characters. I’ve written a lot on this blog about trusting one’s own perceptions, not because they’re always correct, but because one has no choice. I would really like to feel that Jesus was as real to me as the person sitting next to me on the subway. Still, I’ve been hurt so badly by people who put ideology ahead of compassion, that I am paranoid that this “Jesus” in my head would become a construct that diminishes my investment in the here and now. I suppose that if that happened, it would be a sign that it wasn’t the real Jesus? By their fruits you shall know them…

I’m just the pieces of the man I used to be
Too many bitter tears are raining down on me
I’m far away from home
And I’ve been facing this alone
For much too long
I feel like no-one ever told the truth to me
About growing up and what a struggle it would be
In my tangled state of mind
I’ve been looking back to find
Where I went wrong

Too much love will kill you
If you can’t make up your mind
Torn between the lover
And the love you leave behind
You’re headed for disaster
‘cos you never read the signs
Too much love will kill you
Every time

I’m just the shadow of the man I used to be
And it seems like there’s no way out of this for me
I used to bring you sunshine
Now all I ever do is bring you down
How would it be if you were standing in my shoes
Can’t you see that it’s impossible to choose
No there’s no making sense of it
Every way I go I’m bound to lose

Too much love will kill you
Just as sure as none at all
It’ll drain the power that’s in you
Make you plead and scream and crawl
And the pain will make you crazy
You’re the victim of your crime
Too much love will kill you
Every time

Too much love will kill you
It’ll make your life a lie
Yes, too much love will kill you
And you won’t understand why
You’d give your life, you’d sell your soul
But here it comes again
Too much love will kill you
In the end…
In the end.

(Lyrics courtesy of