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Advent Day 14: Love (ain't always so good)

But there's still some problems that I need to cure, So turn on the light babe, lets find where it hurts…

Why do we suffer to hide from our shame?

Love (ain’t always so good), Isaac Gracie


Issac Gracie is a little like a contemporary Jeff Buckley with his moody, rock-star vibe and his talent for thought-provoking, heart-felt lyrics. The title of this song also seems strangely familiar… I’ve been wondering if it’s a reference to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Ain’t No Cure for Love’, which also speaks of the pain of love (see day 8 of my advent reflections). There are obviously countless songs about this universal experience, but ‘Love (ain’t always so good)’ stands out as a particularly interesting treatment of the subject.

Isaac Gracie sings about a lover who is incapable of opening up and reciprocating his vulnerability. His feelings of helplessness and sadness may resonate with many of us, but there may also be those of us who understand how it feels to be on the other end of the relationship, struggling to share our thoughts and feelings with those who love us most.

‘Why do we suffer to hide from our shame?’ seems to me to be a pretty accurate diagnosis of the human problem. Hiding from our pain and insecurities often appears to be the easier option compared with confronting the frightening truth of our confused hearts and minds. Rowan Williams articulates this issue very helpfully in one of his Christmas sermons (sorry I am indeed quoting him again):

“…the world will never fully be itself except in the glad receiving of God’s presence and the recognition of the ‘true light’ at the centre of all human, all created life. If this makes us afraid, the Christian will say, that is because at some level we are afraid of ourselves, of what we really are and might be; afraid of a destiny for human beings more glorious than we could imagine; afraid that we may have to change our lives unrecognisably in order truly to becomes ourselves.”

(Choose Life)

Jesus comes to ‘turn on the light’, ‘find where it hurts’ and ‘cure our problems’, and yet it often feels far more complex than that. It may take us some time, maybe even the whole of our lives, to realise that our attempts at ‘hiding’ are causing us to ‘suffer’, and to choose instead to let Jesus gently attend to our wounds. Jesus is the true light, and whilst this light may seem overwhelming for us when we’ve been sitting in the dark for so long, it is also the very hope that we’ve been searching for our entire lives….

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

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