Sometimes a song speaks with new relevance and its message comes to life. That’s what happened with this song today as it popped up in my playlist. The words resonate during the present national pandemic
If you’re on your own in this life The days and nights are long When you think you’ve had too much of this life To hang on…
Everybody hurts sometimes; Everybody cries…
I have become aware of many people who have been totally on their own, going for days without seeing another person. Each person has their own particular story with their own aspects of pain; one person’s mountain may be another person’s molehill. What may seem small to one may cause great anguish to someone else. But I am mindful of what my nurse friend often says, “The pain is what the patient says it is”. Pain is pain…
I’m also aware that to tell someone in pain that “everybody hurts” is not the most sensitive response. It doesn’t acknowledge their own particular pain that they are experiencing and actually seems to belittle it.
This led me to think about the age-old question often posed in times of great pain or searching…”Where is God when it hurts?” or sometimes phrased as “If God is a God of love why is there suffering in the world?” Huge questions to ponder, to research, to meditate on, not run away from or be simplistic about.
And so I reflect…. God is close to the broken hearted… Psalm 34:18
GO TO MORE GIGS PEOPLE! (when the corona virus lockdown is over). Then you can say ‘I was there’.
This concert is at the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti also known as the River Plate stadium in Buenos Aries, Argentina, recorded in December 2009. Capacity is about 70,000 people and it looks full to me. The concert series was recorded in HD as ‘Live at River Plate’ and was the last to feature rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, and bassist Cliff Williams.
I had always assumed this song, originally released in 1979, was an invitation to accept that we are all so bad that we are going to hell (even though we don’t really believe in it), so we might as well go wild and enjoy the party while it lasts. However, according to the normally unimpeachable Wikipedia, it was inspired by the arduous nature of touring constantly and life on the road.
Here’s my take on it now, inspired by this religious icon. It’s a standard image called Anastasia – Greek for ‘resurrection’ and it shows Jesus breaking down the gates of hell and lifting people up from death and slavery. As a Christian, I want to join in with the mission of Jesus to set people free, so I’m on the Highway to Hell with him; I hope you are too!
There’s no place you can go to escape God, no place where you can’t be reached, as Psalm 139 puts it :
Where could I go to escape from you? Where could I get away from your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
Lead singer, Amy Lee, wrote this about the man who would become her husband. When she met him her life was a mess and she says that he looked into her eyes and asked if she was happy. “I felt like he could just see straight into my soul.” The co-writer of the song said it was about
“discovering something or someone that awakens a feeling inside them that they’ve never had before. You discover there is a world that is bigger than just your safe bubble.”
The song hardly needs any comment and seems to resonate with the cry of humanity, “save me from the nothing I’ve become”. To me the song is a cry from the heart, a longing to be known, to be really seen. It’s the longing to come alive.
And the story reminded me of a woman Jesus met. He saw through her words and how things appeared externally. He offered her life. She described him as someone who “told me everything I have ever done”, maybe she felt like Amy Lee, “he could see straight into my soul.”