Nickelback and The Cry For Meaning


If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
We'd see the day when nobody died

~ Nickelback, If Everyone Cared, 2007

My daughter introduced me to the song “If Everyone Cared," released in early 2007 by Canadian rockers Nickelback. Nominated for a Grammy award in 2008, the song is about hope through caring. The band is donating the proceeds from the song to charity.

The song and video pay tribute to the fact that one person can make a difference in the world. The video is well done. I encourage you to watch and listen. It features footage from humanitarians who have stood for peace.

I applaud the message that one person can change the world. History has proven it. I think of William Wilberforce and his campaign to abolish the slave trade and change the moral ethos of England.

The song resonates with a deeper message, however. It is the message of meaning. Everyone seeks meaning. We are driven by a longing to connect to something bigger and transcendent. It is woven into each of our souls. Many pursue causes in search of meaning. Causes are great. But at the end of the day, they are just causes. Without a greater narrative to connect to, they don’t sustain and they don’t last. They come and go. The concert Live Aid in 1984 is a good example of that. It raised millions and purchased food for thousands of Africans. Yet, world hunger remains.


The same “cry for meaning” can also be found in the lyrics of despair. My first real taste of that in the popular culture was from Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again, Naturally”: In a little while from now, If I'm not feeling any less sour I promised myself to treat myself And visit a nearby tower, And climbing to the top, Will throw myself off In an effort to make it clear to who Ever what it's like when you’re shattered Left standing in the lurch, at a church Where people 're saying, "My God that's tough, she stood him up! No point in us remaining. May as well go home." As I did on my own, Alone again, naturally To think that only yesterday, I was cheerful, bright and gay, Looking forward to, but who wouldn't do, The role I was about to play But as if to knock me down, Reality came around And without so much as a mere touch, Cut me into little pieces Leaving me to doubt, All about God and His mercy For if He really does exist Why did He desert me In my hour of need? I truly am indeed, Alone again, naturally It seems to me that There are more hearts Broken in the world That can't be mended Left unattended What do we do? What do we do? Now looking back over the years, And what ever else that appears I remember I cried when my father died Never wishing to have cried the tears And at sixty-five years old, My mother, God rest her soul, Couldn't understand, why the only man She had ever loved had been taken Leaving her to start with a heart So badly broken Despite encouragement from me No words were ever spoken And when she passed away I cried and cried all day Alone again, naturally Alone again, naturally To the wrenching cry, silence can be the cruelest response. Jean Paul Sartre testified bitterly, “I prayed, I demanded a sign. I sent messages to Heaven, no reply. Heaven ignored my very name. Each minute I wonder what I could BE in the eyes of God. Now I know the answer: nothing. God does not see me, God does not hear me, God does not know me. You see this emptiness over our heads? It is God. You see this gap in the door? It is God. You see that hole in the ground? That is God again. Silence is God. Absence is God. God is the loneliness of man." I forget the song, but the lyrics were dark. They went, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” *** “Is this aching in the heart Just the start Of another futile prayer To the air?” Or is it the Lord Himself saying, “come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”? “God has spoken to us in His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
Great post. That is one of my current favorite songs!
This band reminds me of our next generation (20 somethings) who cry for moral victory, are particularly sensitive to any hypocricy yet can quickly become overwhelmed with how small the world has become and the real opportunities this small world presents. We as the generation(s) that have gone before them should remind them that they can and that they will make a difference for Christ because they are uniquely able.

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