Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And if God doesn't provide?


This title is an allusion to yet another song, this one in Portuguese. It is the pop version of a type of samba called partido alto by Chico Buarque, so titled.

Partido alto is witty, provocative and involves plays on words, as I understand. The song "Partido Alto" taps into this, and its chorus is an elaborate word play that, upon hearing it, I found brazen but could not help singing it.

The actual lyrics are as follows:

Diz que Deus dará,
Não vou duvidar,ô nega
E se Deus não dá,
Como é que vai ficar, ô nega?

Diz que deu, diz que dá,
E se Deus negar, ô nega
Eu vou me indignar e chega,
Deus dará, Deus dará

Works a lot better than the English translation; I'm not even sure how you would make this as fun in English, actually (a small amount of poetic license taken in the translation here):

They say that God will provide
I'm not going to doubt that, my dear
And if God doesn't give
How are we going to end up, my dear?

They say he gave, they say he gives
And if God denies us, my dear,
I'll become outraged and that's it
God will give, God will give

First of all, I've always found it hilarious that variations on the word "black" are used as a term of endearment in Latin America. Light skin children were called "negrito/a" when I was in the DR, and "nega" in Brazil is a term of endearment for one's wife, girlfriend or close female friend, regardless of race, but very commonly used among white people, and it definitely comes from "negra." So, essentially, it'd be like everyone in America said "nigga" as a term of endearment...or at least in a similar way that black people do.

Talk about how language shapes one's view of the world!

But I share that lyric to share actually something quite serious, at least for me. I open it with a jovial note. Tell me, how would a Muslim interpret this lyric? Would a Muslim even let these lyrics cross their lips?

On my playlist on my iPod, I skip over (but interestingly have not yet deleted) the song that ends with "A vezes tento creer mas não consigo. E todo um total insensatez..." Which translates, "Sometimes I try to believe, but I'm not able to. It's all complete nonsense."

Muslims, am I right? We are, by definition, believers. Not only are we believers, but we are submitters. I cannot let such words of disbelief pass into my psyche, not in the form of song, of verse, of speech, of thought, of image, nothing. I reject those lyrics. This is why some people consider music haram. Where do you draw the line between beautiful instrumentation and harmless lyrics to the very harmful. It will sneak up on you. And see how I've memorized that Portuguese lyric against my will! It is in my mind and undermining my faith and I would have been better off never having heard that lyric, astaghfirullah...

...or would I be?

I admit, I do intend to remove that song from my iPod, but I rarely listen to my iPod anymore and haven't changed songs on it for the last 3 years or so. I am a little tongue-in-cheek up there but I'm serious about taking care about the forms of media I ingest and how it can have an impact on our person. Disbelief is not my modus operandi, so I don't consume it.

However, songs like "Partido Alto" walk that line of inappropriateness. If I were my former self, actually, I would stop listening to this song, too, and try to purge it from my memory. To imply, ever, that God doesn't provide? Haram in the making, right there.

The song's protagonist is a person living in poverty, lamenting their position and poking fun at themselves. Their faith is fickle at best. God will provide...but what if He doesn't? What are we going to do? Well, if he doesn't provide, I'm going to be pissed...

But I still listen to this song. Why?

Because God has provided amply for me, more than I ever ask for and above what I've ever wanted. But there are so many in this world who are struggling, good people who are constant in prayer, better than I, people all around the world, burying children that they aren't able to feed, watched them die...

My upbringing and faith-base taught me that God provides amply for them, too. But having experienced individuals and families in desperation as I have as a physician now, you definitely feel like there are times when God isn't providing.

In a witty way, a silly song captures fleeting desperation, the lack of understanding of the world we all have and are at varying levels of wanting to admit it. We do not know why we were put here, don't and will not understand the master plan.

As long as God continues to provide me with all that he does, I'll continue to realize the purpose of my life...to help others through life. I believe that's why we're all here...to help each other out through this maze. And if God were "no longer to provide?" I hope someone would do the same for me...help me, whatever is left of me.

Because there is enough resource, wealth and plenty that have been provided to some of us, that nobody's baby has to starve.

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