When it hurts like this

If any of you remember, at Impact we collected a series of journals in which about 75 of you from different groups shared your stories. As we’ve been reading through them, praying for them, and drafting up characters and dialogue and situations for Zeteo, I’ve found myself building on one story in particular. After sharing it with a few others on our staff, we determined we’d like to write a song for the characters involved in this particular story that digs deep and focuses on their emotional journey.

To be honest, I’m not the best song-writer. I realized this as I sat at the piano the other day.  My process usually goes something like this.

1. I sit and play a bunch of my favorite chords and songs to get myself psyched up about music in general.

2. I pray.

3. I find one chord progression that (I think) is really spectacular.

4. I say to myself ” Wow Christie, this time, it’s really gonna be a good song. All the other times you failed, but THIS time you’re gonna find it. You really are. YEAH. That song won’t know what’s coming! I bet it’ll just come to you AS YOU PLAY IT. That’s how awesome it will be!”

5. I sit there with these seemingly innovative ideas and chords in my head and… then  they come out. They come out and I realize they are far too complex and wordy for a song. And then I argue with myself and say they aren’t and try to fit 12 syllables into an 8 syllable line. And it doesn’t sound pretty. In fact,  it sounds like I tried to cram 12 syllables into an 8 syllable line.

I consistently struggle to express myself in song because I just want to tell you everything instead of letting the music speak for itself. Instead of writing, “The September sky’s turning gray” I write, ” The September sky’s turning gray because I’m really confused about this particular situation in my life that it will take 10 verses and a 7 1/2 line chorus  to tell you about.” Suffice it to say, I left the piano that night after 3 hours, very humbled and convinced that I should leave the songwriting to the songwriters.But as I tried to fall asleep,(at 1 am no less)  all these lyrics just kept leaping in front of my eyelids yelling in a sports announcer voice “WRITE ME DOWN! NOW!…Hey…WRITE ME! HEYYYYY CHRISTIEEEEE…WRITE ME!” I don’t know about you, but I personally find it difficult to sleep with a sports announcer in my head. So, I groaned and turned the light back on to WRITE. And when it came down to it, there was only one line out of the bunch that stuck out to me, and ever since I wrote it, I haven’t been able to stop singing it (despite the fact that I actually don’t have a song to sing it in). It went:

“Just know that I love you…even when it hurts like this.”

I don’t know where everyone is in their story right now. I know there are people who are on top of the world  where everything is falling into place. I know there are people who are kind of stuck on this plateau of repetitious monotony. I know there are people about to embark on great adventures and that there are some who are giving up on dreams. But at this time of year in particular, I find I tend to brush shoulders with a hurt or two. The new school year’s starting, and whether you’re 13 or 70 it’s hard to forget how crushed leaves under your sneakers or the smell of old books remind you of going back to school.  And with that feeling comes anticipation. The anticipation that this year something will change–something will be different. This year, you WILL in fact talk to that girl or that guy. This year, you WILL read your Bible every day and find that depth of relationship with God you’ve been craving. You WILL try pumpkin ice cream or go on that road trip you’ve been planning for years. You’ll repair something broken, or rebuild a lost hope. But as the weeks go on, the routine sets in and it’s harder to find the fire of that I WILL again. Because we start September with the dream of the new things, only to apparently find…nothing but old ones.

And sometimes, that hurts.

It hurts to slip back into old mindsets. It hurts when that girl or that guy finds someone else. It hurts when the pumpkin ice cream isn’t quite as good as you’ve been imagining, and it hurts when you can’t fix that thing you broke…whether it’s an old watch or a friend’s heart. And you know what? It hurts when you spent hours building a sand castle and the wave floods your mote and knocks it out like it was never there at all.  And when times like this roll around, we need each other and we certainly need God.

So maybe that line of the song I can’t write is stuck in my head simply because of the truth in it. Maybe the people in our lives need to be reminded that we love them. We love them when we hurt them. We love them when they hurt us. Maybe we need to hear it from each other: “I love you, even when you’re on top of the world and I’m trying to rebuild my sand castle. I love you when you’re mad because you failed your math exam and took it out on me. I love you when you remind me that I matter. I love you when I’ve lost my dream and you’ve gotten yours. I love you when you press my buttons on purpose or throw my worst fear in my face. I love you when you do something wonderful for me. I love you when you are hurting or when I am. It doesn’t matter. Because the only thing that really counts in love is that it’s at all times. Not just when its easy.”

Last year, Stephen said something in a lot of his messages. He said. “Hurting people, hurt people.”

I know it. I know it because I do it. I know it because I’ve watched others do it.

So what about a turn around? I had this friend on the student chaplain team who told me once about empathy. He said, “Empathy isn’t just about feeling someone else’s pain. It’s about realizing that their pain is your pain.”

And how beautiful is that? Because if my pain is your pain, it isn’t just about me or you any more. It’s about us.

When one part of the body suffers, the rest of the body suffers with it.

God is love, and his love is perfect. Which means he knows our hurts and he knows it in that way that only he can.

Our love is flawed. We are fallen, we are scared, we are mistaken and confused.

But love’s the deal. It’s what we signed up for. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. The messy and the crazy and the leaps forward and the steps backward. Love always hopes, always trusts, always protects and always..perseveres.

God’s love does. And so should ours.

So know that he loves you…

And know that I love you…even when it hurts like this.

 

 

 

 

 

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