The chart-topping singer Kesha recently released the video to her new single ‘Praying’. The song and its accompanying video are raw and emotional. It visually captures what overcoming personal struggle and regaining the internal power to face the battle ahead can look like.
The past few years have been especially challenging for the singer as she lost a legal battle to not work with a man she accused of sexually assaulting her. In 2014 Kesha revealed that producer Dr. Luke sexually, verbally, and emotionally abused her for a decade. Dr. Luke born, Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, was never charged. In 2016 the singer lost her legal battle to break her contract from companies controlled Gottwald. Still, she has channeled the depression and pain from this situation into a beautiful song and letter.
Music is a powerful way to heal people. It is a poem of the spirit set to harmonies and tunes. In the song ‘Praying’ Kesha is wishing the person that sought to harm her not revenge or anger, but peace. She can do this because as she states in her letter, “This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you….What matters is that I have something greater than me as an individual that helps bring me peace.”
In my darkest times, I have felt most calm from praying. Not only for myself, but for agents that contribute to my pain. This process takes introspection and strength. I am reminded of Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Kesha’s legal battles have not ended, but still, she chooses her first single, her first in four years to be one of hope and forgiveness, rather than one that highlights the bitterness that would be expected given her situation. This spirit of forgiveness is something I strive for myself. It is a gift not to those that wrong you, but also to yourself. It is a balm for your wounds. The scar will always be there but the healing process is made easier once the burden of hatred is removed. Some of my favorite Saints lived this out well. July 6th was the feast day of Maria Goretti. She is the patron Saint of sexual assault and rape victims. As she was dying from the stab wounds from her attacker she stated that she forgave him and wished to seem him in Paradise and prays for his salvation. For anyone that is amazing, for an 11-year old it is remarkable.
The lyrics in ‘Praying’ channel these words when she states:
I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
In a society that seems to favor revenge and clapbacks its refreshing to have a musical star show the world that there is strength in forgiveness and the beauty that arises is truly a rest for our souls.