Richard Henkle's Reflections on Timebomb by P!nk
For some reason tonight, I felt like going for a drive. I didn’t have anything specific that I needed to get home to do, so instead of making the usual turn from the beltway onto I-66, I headed south. There were plenty of ways for me to loop back home, and I thought maybe the time would be useful to process what had been going through my mind the last few days. I had my iPod cranked up, shuffling through the random panoply of songs I have collected over the years. P!nk’s “Timebomb” came on (Yes, you can mock me for liking P!nk – I don’t care), and I didn’t really think anything of it at first. I wasn’t paying attention to anything but feeling the beat coincide with me weaving in and out of traffic. And then the bridge sort of broke through my thoughts – “you can have all of me.” I backed the song up, and listened to the bridge again:
I don’t want to be flawless
I don’t want to feel stress
Life is for the living, but not a living hell
So take it,
Oh, you can have all of me.
Here, you can have everything.
I don’t want to be flawless
When I go I want the cuts to show
So take it
Oh, you can have all of me
Oh, fuck it, you can have everything.
Those lines moved me to tears.
I’m sure the first thing you're noticing about this is the f-bomb she drops at the end. No, the song isn’t for kids. And it’s not talking about Jesus, but at some undisclosed male in her life. So hopefully you’ll tolerate the obscenity long enough to see what I saw in it.
I have real, specific problems. The confession time during worship services usually contains vague admittance to general wrongs committed in the last week – “I’m sorry I was selfish, that I put myself before You. Forgive me for wanting what I want, rather than what you want.” But I have an awful time admitting to God, or to anyone else, my specific sins. And that bothers me. But here in this song about a rocky relationship is a more honest confession and statement of submission – to a fallible guy, no less –than what I can muster to the perfect King of the universe.
We as Christians, and myself chief among us, need to get to the point where we are willing to acknowledge we have problems. At least for me, I struggle to admit my specific sins, because I wonder how Christ could still love me, especially when those “cuts” have been inflicted after I’ve come to know him. It’s one thing to have a sinful past that can be explained because I didn‘t know Jesus. It’s quite another to admit to on-going sins I habitually commit 20-plus years into my relationship with him. But the longer I go without honestly acknowledging and addressing my sins, the more I prevent Christ from being able to do His healing work in my life to repair the damage those sins have caused and to shield me from them in the future. I need to let my cuts show.
But it’s the last line that’s the real clincher for me. You see a raw, painful extraction there. And yes, that whole line is important, f-bomb and all. There’s no hiding the flaws, no sugar-coating what’s going on here. “I give up, I cannot do this on my own. I come to You, flaws and all.” Too often, the daily “sacrificing” of my life comes across like listening to the radio version of the song--you know there’s something more going on there that they aren't presenting to you. You may be able to figure it out, but it’s not actually there. It will take prayer and effort in my own life to get to the point that I am able to really make that kind of a confession to God – that He can have all of me.
Richard Henkle is a middle and high school literature and composition teacher in Reston, VA. He enjoys just about any activity that allows him to spend time getting to know other people; recently this has included building Legos with his two sons, playing indoor soccer, and staying up too late with his wife and friends playing board games. He does not like mustard on his tacos, and has never wanted to be a lion trainer.