It hurts because it matters.
“So often we try to make other people feel better by minimizing their pain, by telling them that it will get better (which it will) or that there are worse things in the world (which there are).
But that’s not what I actually needed.
What I actually needed was for someone to tell me
that it hurt because it mattered.
I have found this very useful to think about over the years, and I find that it is a lot easier and more bearable to be sad when you aren’t constantly berating yourself for being sad.”
– John Green
It hurts because it matters.
We were in a small practice room on campus. If you’ve never been in a practice room it is a bit like a walk-in closet. There is a piano, a piano bench, maybe a chair and usually a music stand. Sometimes there is a mirror. The rooms are small and are supposedly soundproof. In reality they are stuffy, dusty, and sometimes smelly!
But back to my story . . . I was accompanying one of the amazing young singers here recently. She sang this fantastically difficult passage gloriously (as always) — from a Handel aria — it is fast, complicated and very high! She sings it with such a lovely ease (though it is not easy at all!) and the sound spins and shimmers.
I stopped and looked up at her with my eyes suddenly full of tears. She stopped and said, “What? What’s wrong?” I croaked, “I’m going to miss you so much.”
I will miss her talent, her humor, her quirkiness, her musicality, her dedication, her humility — her love of thrift shops, of purple and of God (not necessarily in that order!) — her glorious high B flats! All of that.
We shed a few tears.
My mom happened to be visiting that day, so she was also in that tiny dusty practice room and she said —
“The risk of loving is worth the pain.”
I’ve had a few more teary days since then. During the last voice lesson for each of my students I reflected about the journey I’ve been on with each of them, and on the journeys I’ve been on with other students before them.
I can’t yet put it all into words, but I have been hanging on to this idea to get me through —
The reason it hurts so much
to let go and say good bye
is that it matters.
A line of text from a Chanticleer CD came to mind as I was writing this post. The song I remembered is called “Wild Grass.” It is one of a set of Tang poems set to music by composer Chen Yi. The second is from the same set of texts, and I just discovered it tonight while I was searching for the wild grass text.
Wild grasses spreading o’er the plain
With every season come and go.
Heath fire can’t burn them up, again
They rise when the vernal winds blow.
Their scent o’er runs the old pathway;
Their color covers the ruined town.
Seeing my friend going away,
My sorrow grows like wild grass o’er grown.
–Bai Ju-yi (772-846)
Sky and earth forever last,
Lonely, I felt sad with running tears.
–Chen Zi-ang (661-702)