This song has caused me more ambivalence than any pop song has caused me before. This song (excusing the drugs from the video) sends really torn messages.
The repeating chorus, “We found love in a hopeless place” is one that is philosophically coherent. How could hope be found in any other place that hopelessness? If we were always surrounded in a place where things were blissful, would hope be required? And, could the tightest bonds of love be found in any other place of hopelessnesss? As Henri Nouwen said, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Yet, this type of relationship requires what Dietrich Bonhoeffer says is Christ in between two people, Christ the mediator. And, what Rihanna seems to be implying in this song through lyrics such as, “It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny, but I’ve gotta let it go,” or, “Love a life I will divide, turn away ’cause I need you more, feel the heartbeat in my mind”, is that the flow of life between them is codependent. That the relationship she carries is one that is a source of strength, yet pushes her into a form of self-destructive behavior. This doesn’t comply with a mediation of Christ. When Christ in between people, and mediating the life between them, the type of relationship is a flow of God’s incarnation.
I agree, with Rihanna that the greatest depths of love, the people that mean the most to us, as Nouwen noted, are found in a hopeless place. Yet, it’s one that is meant to help endure the hopelessness of life, not create it. This song has been one that has caused me to feel torn as a human being, where the implications are split between incarnation and self-destruction.