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What's Up With Heartaches?

Updated on October 7, 2012
John Prine is a great folk-rock poet.
John Prine is a great folk-rock poet.

If Heartaches Were Commercials

Poets explore the human condition in ways that fully engage our senses. The best poets cannot be neatly divided into spiritual or unspiritual compartments because they skillfully portray the essence of what it means to be entirely human.

Their words transcend the artificial sacred-secular boundary to touch our core; their words resonate within our souls as we recognize our firsthand knowledge of the world.

John Prine, a vastly underappreciated folk-rock poet, is a fine example of a talented wordsmith who accurately probes the complete contents of our humanity. In the midst of a sad tale, he delivers a throwaway line that is starkly definitive: “For if heartaches were commercials we'd all be on TV.”

Heartaches are the normal human experience. Even a speedy appraisal reveals that many of us are mired in heartaches and hopelessness.

We sink deeper and deeper into the pit as we fervently grasp at anything to serve as a lifeline; we chase after a multitude of deceptive practices and philosophies that promise much but deliver nothing except a downward spiral. In our desire for deliverance we clutch at the false hopes of astrology, psychic hotlines, gambling, promiscuous sex, alcohol and drugs.

Heartaches dress up in different disguises.
Heartaches dress up in different disguises.

Heartaches & Hopelessness

No one can escape or be inoculated from the common cruelty of heartaches. No matter who we are or who we think we are anguish has a way of invading our circle to disrupt our finely tuned sense of peace and security.

A marriage ends in bitter acrimony; a loved one dies in tragic circumstances; a job is lost without warning; financial setbacks create family tension and problems; a child rebels against all authority. No one is exempt or spared from broken-hearted grief because sorrows possess no respect or mercy.

Heartaches may dress in different disguises, but always have the same painfully naked result: Heartaches germinate hopelessness; hopelessness breeds desperation; desperation gives birth to rage, alienation and isolation until at the bottom of the pit, suicide appears to be a viable option.

However, suicide is never the solution because death is not the end.

A Supernatural Remedy

Within ourselves we have no capacity to deal with the difficulties and vagaries that are the usual fare this world has to offer. We cannot possibly endure or make sense out of life and death on our own.

To remedy this, our Creator interjected himself into the mix of humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. In his infinite love, God offers us healing for our heartaches and an opportunity to be rescued from the bog of hopelessness.

A Hebrew poet expressed this truth well: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

Our progression from the slimy pit to the solid rock of hope is found in relationship with God.  The choice is ours to make.  God has already paid for this privileged rite of passage.  The cross of Calvary bridges the distance between despair and hope.

When we embrace the cross we are empowered by the living hope of redemption and resurrection.  Refuse it and we are choosing to live with the sewer pipe of hopelessness running just below the surface of our carefully constructed lives.  Material comforts may be able to insulate us for a time, but sooner or later the pipe will spring a leak of heartaches.

Crossroad Choices

Regardless of how we cut it or where we live it, life boils down to choices. At every crossroads we are free moral agents.

Do we choose to place our faith in God’s plan and provision or do we choose to reject the cross? Do we understand that our temporal acceptance or rejection has eternal consequences? God doesn’t force his will on anyone; he allows us to decide whether to accept or reject the cross.

Our personal connection to God begins when we exercise faith in Christ; we come to comprehend that we are released from our sinful past by Christ’s death and resurrection. Heartaches are put into perspective. Hope blossoms and grows as we discover all that God has in store for us; hope gives us purpose and direction as we take hold of faith and allow faith to take hold of us.

What’s up with heartaches is that they are part and parcel of life. It is our attitude and outlook that makes all the difference; heartaches grind us down or polish us depending upon how we choose to respond.

Our world is not a faith-friendly place, so often it is difficult to stand strong on the promises of God, but the reality of faith in Christ is this: With faith heartaches are encased in genuine hope; without faith heartaches will be shrouded by despair.

The choice really is ours to make.


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    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      creativeone59 - Thank you for your kind words. Blessings to you.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      9 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a truly blessed hub of truth, I enjoyed reading it. thank you for sharing it with us. creatvieone59

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Tina Irene.

    • profile image

      Tina Irene 

      9 years ago

      Ken -

      This is a truly great hub!...I like it lots!

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      mtsi1098 - Thanks for your words. Yes, we always have choices to make & our beliefs are our guidance system. Blessings to you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      this is interesting...I think the cross road and choices are true since we are all presented with good and bad but it is our belief that helps the choice...thanks

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, Cari Jean. Me too. I often wonder how people handle the hardness of life without Christ....

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      9 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Your hub has caused me to recall many heartaches in my life but God was there and got me through each of them! I do not know how people can suffer extreme heartache without knowing Christ.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks, HammerJammer. Take care & be encouraged.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image


      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Great Hub Ken very inspirational!


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