Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday of cancer at age 65.
As just about everyone of a certain age knows, he was the lead guitarist of Van Halen, which he co-founded in 1972 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth. The band’s most-successful single ever was its No. 1 hit Jump, the lead single from its 1984 album. I was a junior in high school when the album was released in 1984.
The lyrics to Jump were written by Roth:
I get up and nothin’ gets me down
You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You got to roll with the punches and get to what’s real
Ah, can’t you see me standin’ here
I got my back against the record machine
I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen
Ah, can’t you see what I mean?
Ah, might as well jump (jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump (jump)
Go ahead and jump …
There has long been debate over what the song means. Some critics say it is pro-suicide. What else could go ahead and jump mean, right?
But the tune is really upbeat and others say it is 180 degrees wrong to view the song as pro-suicide. To them, it is a metaphor for living life, forgetting your haters and not getting dragged down.
Roth has given various explanations through the years for what the song means so who really knows.
Put me in the latter camp. If I’ve learned one thing in life, there are many times when it’s better to jump even if it would be easier to stand still. And it’s so much easier to stand still. I did it for years and years before finally making changes that improved my life in ways for which I had given up hope.
A few days ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I guess you could say I jumped.
There’s no need to go into details, but I forced a bit of a confrontation — something I generally avoid. The end result may not be what I would like, but doing things that make us uncomfortable is often more important than winning or losing or getting our way. And the end result eventually will be something good. It will be what was meant to be even if it’s not what I wanted.
That point was reinforced — the day after I spoke up — by the Bible study/devotional I try to do every day:
Have you ever wondered if God is really going to be there for you — that if you take a step of faith, He’ll really come through for you? Like most people, you’ve probably tasted the grief and disappointment that come with heartbreak, loss and failure … When you feel dejected over your failures, remember that you are God’s beloved child. He looks upon you as one made perfect through Christ’s sacrifices (Hewbrews 10:14) God is faithful. He has a purpose for your life, and He’s working all things together for your good according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
I think what this means is that God values and appreciates all that we have to offer even when it seems as if others do not. Our talents, abilities and skills are gifts from God so it makes sense he really knows what we have to offer and how best to use it. What anyone else thinks is secondary.
But God also gives us the power of choice and lets us make our own decisions. Sometimes, to get where He wants us to go, you can’t allow yourself to settle or stand still.
You have to jump.