Hurt

Hurt. There’s a lot of that going around.

Many of us hurt because of what’s going on in the world. And we cannot hug our loved ones in the pandemic time. In Manitoba, we can’t even gather with anyone outside our home as of Thursday. Lockdown 2.0. I felt really stirred up today learning of that… believing as I do that the careless acts of some people have turned my province into the country’s current hotspot, amassing as many new COVID-19 cases almost every day as we did in the whole first wave.

I miss our kids and the grandkids. All our families, friends and other loved ones. Anyway, today, I felt defeated when seeing the news this morning and felt like this is really getting to be a drag.

I miss being able to go, help people when they need it, or just go visit them. Ironically, Sweety and I have more friends now, having met many people online with whom we’ve become close over the past nine months. Folks with whom we’ve connected at gatherings centred on poetry, meditation and spiritual community.

Sometimes the hurt comes from within, and I recognized that a few times today. As I contemplate entering this later part of life, I’m more aware of my mortality, as I inferred in my post on Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son.” I’m looking to become a good ancestor, or a living ancestor, as an American friend referred to it when hearing my intention. For me, that means reaching out and offering what I can to my family, really actively… not sitting in the background as has been my practice through a lot of life. It also means reconciling with the faults, failures and shoulds I carry and want to have laid all down to avoid “deathbed regrets.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sick or imminently dying. When I turned 60 this year, it felt like a huge milestone, and I’m more aware of the “sand in the hourglass.” I’m loving life more than ever before — even with all these restrictions and missing theatre, music shows, movies, all that stuff we can’t do now — and wanting to honour the next generations, by doing my part as their ancestor.

And then, after the grumbling and self-pity, I passed by a photo of my dad, taken around 1940, while he was serving with the Grenadier Guards, the Queen’s Own Regiment of the British Army. He was one of very few of his company who returned. My mum was evacuated to another home, far away. They both lived through terror and hardship, wondering if they’d ever see their families again.

Tomorrow on Remembrance Day (Veterans’ Day to our U.S. friends and family), we remember their sacrifices along with those whose lives ended in the war, and those who continue to suffer its memory.

By contrast, we are asked to wear masks, wash our hands a lot, keep our distance, and stay home when sick. And it’s been nine months. For some, it has been horrific. For some, it’s threatened livelihoods. For many, it’s been an inconvenience. But it hasn’t been six years of hell.

We’ll get through. All you need is love. Speaking of which, today is one of my brothers’ birthdays. I reached him by phone, and we had a marvellous conversation — fun, informative, emotional, reflective, and honouring.

So, I’m working on not hurting. Not letting past hurts re-harm me. Strengthening myself and my relationships to prepare for a future where we will all one day leave this living world. And, working on not hurting myself. Honouring me for who I am, what I’ve done, what I’ll do instead of beating myself up for my failings. Feeling grateful. Plus, learning some new tools with some new and not entirely new friends!

Nine Inch Nails, an American industrial rock band, wrote and released “Hurt” on their 1994 album, Downward Spiral. Johnny Cash (1932-2003) covered the song on his 2002 collection, American IV: The Man Comes Around, and American filmmaker Mark Romanek produced a lavish video to accompany this rendition. The song was one of Cash’s final hits.

It is a powerful song. I don’t know if I have ever heard the Nine Inch Nails version; it’s not familiar in my memory anyway. (It’s getting late in the day, so I will seek it out another time… and may just find I know it well!) I have a hard time thinking of anyone making this piece more heart-rending and visceral than Cash.

Hurt. There’s a lot of that going around.

But, maybe we’re not on a downward spiral and needn’t embrace regrets like those depicted in the song.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official music video from the Johnny Cash YouTube channel:

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