I was 15 when I heard my first Coldplay song. A couple of friends were raving about them, and the first song they played was “Fix You”. Of course I wanted to hear more, so for Christmas that year my mom bought me all of their albums. When I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, their albums were always playing in my car. They also became my go-to albums when I was getting a lot of bad news about my mom’s health. I had tickets to see them in the spring of 2009, but my mom passed during that time so I was unable to go.
Seven years later, my husband and I had been married a year, and during a road trip out west we saw Coldplay in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. Not only was it one of the best concerts either of us had ever been to, but for me, it was really redemptive.
Part of the reason I’m so passionate about paying attention to our grief is that when we are aware of the hurt, we also have the opportunity to catch glimpses of redemption and beauty. We can’t see the beauty if we don’t accept (and dare I say, embrace) the pain.
10 years ago, right after my mom died, it was painful for me to listen to Viva La Vida. The song released in the last 9 months of her life, so after she died, hearing it just reminded me of her last months. And, ironically, the title means “Long Live Life”. It was inspired by a painting Frida Kahlo created that depicts the irony of celebrating life while physically suffering.
What a painful, yet beautiful thought.
I don’t know about you, but it’s really hard for me to celebrate life when I’m in suffering.
I feel cheated.
I feel angry.
And it feels inauthentic to celebrate when things are hard.
Isn’t there always going to be suffering? Isn’t there always going to be something we are afraid of? Something we are dreading? Something that’s inevitable?
As humans, death is inevitable. But as someone who believes in Jesus, death doesn’t get the final word. I wish I could tell you that because of my beliefs it’s easier for me to celebrate each day no matter what, but, it’s not.
In fact, I think a lot of times when I experience suffering, I direct my anger at God.
And he can handle it. One of the greatest songwriters, David, certainly showed us that.
But I’m trying to learn what it means to celebrate life even in the really hard, painful moments. Not to ignore suffering or pretend it's not there (that's often more detrimental), but to celebrate all parts of life as a gift, including the suffering.
So Viva La Vida friends...