Something’s Missing

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last twenty years, you know who John Mayer is. He displays an enormous musical talent, and evidently possesses an ego to match. Think of him what you will, one would be hard pressed to find a better song writer alive today. Some of his lyrics reveal insights that go beyond pop pablum. I’m thinking particularly of a song from his album, Heavier Things, entitled “Something’s Missing.” Heavier things

I’m dizzy from the shopping mall
I searched for joy but I bought it all
It doesn’t help the hunger pains
And a thirst I’d have to drown first to ever satiate

In “Something’s Missing” Mayer echoes the themes from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Like Solomon, Mayer has indulged in everything this world has to offer. Wealth, applause, lovers–he admits that has experienced them all. At one point in the song he checks off all the things he has:

Friends? “check”
Money? “check”
Well-slept? “check”
Opposite sex? “check”

And yet, he laments, he feels empty inside. Something’s missing. The chorus repeats a sad refrain:

Something’s missing and I don’t know how to fix it
Something’s missing and I don’t know what it is
No, I don’t know what it is at all

Mayer ends the song with a mystified query:

How come everything I think I need
Always comes with batteries?
What do you think it means?

Augustine tells us what John is missing. In his Confessions, Augustine says to God, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”

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