In August of 1983, I was probably only 3 months old but in Minneapolis, the artist known as Prince was recording the title track from his film Purple Rain that was released the following year. It would be several years later as an adult that I would first hear and fall in love with this song. Yet, it would still be several more years before I would fully understand and make the connection that I have with the song now.
During my undergraduate studies, I became great friends with a woman that I considered to be my best friend. She was like a sister to me and I truly adored her. She was the first to really introduce me to Purple Rain the film and we bonded over singing several of the songs and the title track of Purple Rain together. As our friendship went through ups and downs, I began to change and shift from all that I thought I knew to start of journey of true self discovery. Unfortunately, my friendship with her came to an end. An end that I felt to my core and that took me years to overcome. I felt like I walked through a divorce and not only lost my friend but my family. My mid 20s mind couldn’t grasp what my 30s mind knows now that relationships, whether friendship, romantic, business or the like, all have expiration dates. And whether I liked it or not, that relationship’s expiration date had arrived. And it had to end in the manner that it did for our paths to go the directions that they have.
When that friendship ended, I didn’t realized beautiful nor magnificent my connection with this one singular person was. It took an emotional toll on me that could only be soothed by Prince’s Heavenly voice and amazing guitar skills as he crooned Purple Rain through my speakers. I remember having the Purple Rain soundtrack on repeat for about six months, playing the title track at least once a day. I would ride along the interstate and sing at the top of my lungs, not understanding the raw emotion hidden behind each word I belted out. I was in my mid 20s and fully confused about my life, my path, and who I was.
Last July, one of my friends had the opportunity to attend Essence Festival. I had planned on attending but life knocked the wind out of me and I wasn’t able to. I remember telling her that if she was there, take a photo of Prince and if she could, call me when she started to sing my favorite song. Well, her phone began to die before he got to my song. However, she was able to record audio of him performing Purple Rain and sent it to me via text. In that moment, as I began to play the track, I felt like I was there. Standing and looking at the sound stage. As he started to sing, the tears started flowing from my eyes. In my moment, I realized what it was that I felt years ago. See, to me, Purple Rain represents that hope you had in another. The dreams you had in another. How failure has come in but you still want the best for them. And its because of the love, the passion you had in the midst of whatever it is you have with that person. And this freeing moment when you let everything go and just let Love guide you. That freeing “standing in the midst of rain while laughing” type feeling. That cleansing type feeling that rain can give.
You see, I cried when I lost the friendship that I held so dear to my heart but I cried because of the door that that friendship ending opened. I finally had to confront myself and free myself in order to be where I am now. I lost one of the best friendships of my lifetime but I gained myself and I could never make up for the loss, the hurt, the aftermath but its like, in that song, I was absolved of my sins. I was forgiven. I could move forward. I was cleansed and those that were close to me, that I felt that I had let down, that I had hurt, that I had failed in my promises with, well, they were cleansed as well and we both could move forward. Now, in moving forward, in letting go, it didn’t mean we may be moving forward together but we could both find that healing place if we let Love just wrap us and guide us.
And as I laid with the song on repeat, listening to the long guitar solo of Prince, I felt my heart beat, letting the last few bits of scarred tissue fall away and I realized how much I had grown. How much that in that moment, there were people in my life that loved me. That despite the mistakes of my past and my present, I wasn’t a total screw-up and the happiness I am seeking will come. I just have to let Love guide me.
So, find that song that truly connects to your heart strings, to your conscious, to your soul and let it propel you towards your healing space so that you can walk freely, guided into a higher space. And in doing so, hopefully if there is anything that you had been holding onto, you will have the strength to let it go and walk taller, stronger. More determined and able to have that peace knowing that your sins have been forgiven. They have been absolved in the Purple Rain.