So I was listening to one of Johnny Cash’s last songs this week. I have a great amount of respect for Cash though I’m not necessarily a country music connoisseur. The song is entitled “Hurt” and here are the lyrics to the chorus.

“What have I become,
My sweetest friend,
Everyone I know,
Goes away in the end,

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,
I will let you down,
I will make you hurt.”

I have never listened to the song before (if you haven’t I’d recommend it with all due haste…listen to it while you are reading this) and naturally, I loved it. It seemed so heartfelt and raw. Raw was something I had been feeling… in the advent of my maternal grandfather’s sudden brain aneurysm and death in January. After the funeral, I had to immediately jump back into the whirlwind of all things graduate school and really didn’t have much time to process the “hurt” I felt… so upon hearing Cash’s song, it sank in. At the same time, I had learned of a friend who was going through a very difficult time and was bearing consequences that were not of her doing. I hurt for her… I hurt for me.

I began reflecting on relationships… people that I know now… that I have known… that I will know. It’s powerful stuff. The fact of the matter is that we will lose each other eventually. Think about people you’ve known and loved… people who are no longer a part of your life for one reason or another. That hurts. Even aches. To have loved and lost that which you loved. For me, it drives home the fact that life comes in seasons… people come into our lives for a season to teach us, to love us, to walk beside us, to change us… but part of living is that we eventually have to give them up… they “go away in the end”… eventually…they’ll make us hurt, like Johnny so eloquently conveys. And then what do you do?

You keep going. You keep loving. You let yourself be changed. They knew you, they loved you and hurt you, they are in your memory, they are in your soul. But you are in a new season now… you can’t become immobilized because of the pain of the past. You can’t shut down. You keep going, keeping your heart open to meet and love new people. This is the blessing of life… a gift of God. So as hard as it can be, you have to be grateful to have known that person and grateful for the memory that you carry.

Then, with all grace and strength… you rise.

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