Do you ever find yourself listening to the same song over and over again? For the past few weeks I’ve been asking Alexa to play Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. whenever I’m alone in the kitchen. My dog, Lincoln, walks in whenever the song starts to play and watches me as I sway to the music or hum along. Sometimes I just sit down at the kitchen table to take in the melody and the lyrics. Sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes it gives me hope. Sometimes it reminds me of when the song came out and I was a young, confused adult trying to figure out what to do with my life. It always makes me think of my son.

Everybody hurts was meant as a suicide prevention song. Thank you to R.E.M’s drummer Bill Berry for writing it. Nobody could have sung it better than Michael Stipe. His singular voice and the hypnotic melody have made it one the most enduring and universal songs of my generation. If you haven’t seen the original video directed by Jake Scott, I have provided the link below. Subtitles of what the different actors are thinking about are provided. I had to look up what the pamphlets were about. The evangelist on the overpass is throwing down verses from Psalms. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2), and They that sow in tears shall reap in joy (Psalm 126.5).  Goosebumps are included.

Everybody Hurts

When your day is long
And the night
The night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life
Well hang on

Don’t let yourself go
Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts

Sometimes everything is wrong
Now it’s time to sing along
(When your day is night alone)
Hold on, hold on
(If you feel like letting go)
Hold on
If you think you’ve had too much of this life
Well hang on

Cause everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts

Don’t throw your hand
Oh, no
Don’t throw your hand
When you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you’re not alone

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

Well, everybody hurts
Sometimes, everybody cries
And everybody hurts

And everybody hurts

So, hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
Hold on, hold on
(Everybody hurts
You are not alone)

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