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‘A beautiful gut punch’

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

January 24, 2024

I remember loving the song and music video when it was first released just over 20 years ago, but I have no idea why YouTube suggested it to me recently.

I clicked on it anyway.

The song/video: Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt,” a song originally written and performed by Trent Reznor, the lead singer of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails.

Cash’s cover of the song was release in 2002, just a year before he died.

I forgot something about that song/video when I clicked: It’s the only song/video that has ever made me cry, and I was born in the ‘80s and grew up in the ‘90s, so I’ve watched a lot of music videos.

I remembered pretty quickly when I started to feel tears welling up in my eyes shortly after the first chorus. The video and Cash’s performance feel like a beautiful gut punch.

Later, as I continued down the YouTube rabbit hole, the platform started suggesting what are commonly called “reaction videos,” videos of people experiencing that same song/video for the first time.

I found myself watching video after video with titles like, “Hip Hop Artist Reacts to Johnny Cash for the First Time,” or “Vocal Coach Reacts to ‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash.”

Normally, I don’t see the appeal of reaction videos. I never understood watching someone else watch a music video. But I found myself watching what likely added up to over an hour of such videos over a few days.

Why? I wanted to see if others had the same intense reaction I had. I wanted to share that experience with others. In some way, I guess it made my response feel normal, even though it was so out of the norm (like I said, I’ve never cried because of any other video).

It’s also part of what I love about our faith: it’s a shared experience. We’re all journeying together, having intense reactions and experiences together and trying to grow in our relationships with the Lord together. We make each other feel a bit more normal in our struggles, in those moments of profound awe, in the full range of what we experience as we try to get to heaven together – even some beautiful gut punches. It’s a common experience, a team sport.

I’ll remember that for longer than 20 years, I hope and pray.

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