Although I think JB made it unclear intentionally (maybe it refers to someone he knew/knows), I think the song refers to a woman who is left in the wake of a lover who killed herself....
For taking the trouble, for hanging on and tryin'
You've been working through the rubble of a shattered mind

Yeah Baby, tell me why the tears are falling from your eye
Tears of laughter, tears of grief, are they the tears of a captured thief?

You thought that you were home free, you thought you had her well in hand
But there were things about her you didn't understand

Yeah Baby, tell me how you're gonna keep that promise now?
To live your life without regret and make it work with what you get

You didn't then, but now you know
When she began to lie, you really should have let her go

You're learnin' how to talk about it, you're learnin' how to bend
It's like you're learning how to walk all over again

Yeah Baby, tell me who you're gonna give your lovin' to?
That girl who catches every eye or the one you can set your compass by

You set it by her soulful smile, the fire in her eye
And the way she goes that extra mile
The love you wanted this to be is somewhere down the line
You'll find her eventually

Your grandma and her grandma are sittin' 'round heaven discussin' the law
Lovin' that girl was not your crime, livin' without her gonna take some time
Lovin' that girl next thing you knew, you'd turned away from the thing you do
Lovin' that girl, you couldn't see, living without her gonna make you free



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"For Taking the Trouble" as written by Jackson Browne

Lyrics © Jackson Browne/Swallow Turn Music/Night Kitchen Music/Open Window Music

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For Taking the Trouble song meanings
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    General CommentThe song's meaning is quite plain, but I still find it cute and a story delicately told.

    Someone is talking to a friend, who has split up with his girlfriend (or wife). The girlfriend was cheating (or at least "lying" since the lyrics clearly say that he really should have let her go when she began to lie).
    The writer is telling his friend "Good on ya" for putting up the good fight, for "hanging on and trying" (for trying to make the relationship work, for being honorable).

    There's a part about how the bad girlfriend was making his friend change for the worse. He tells his friend that being in the relationship was dragging him down, making him somebody he wasn't. I think we have all experienced this. When you have a partner who is not being good to you, you may change your behavior in unpleasant ways to try to please and keep them. And meanwhile, you are not yourself and you alienate your friends.
    ("Lovin' that girl next thing you knew, you'd turned away from the thing you do")

    Finally, there's encouragement. ", living without her gonna make you free" and
    "Somewhere down the line You'll find her eventually "

    In short: "Who needs her? There are plenty of fish in the sea. You'll find the right girl. Glad to have my friend back!"
    mmagliaroon June 11, 2013   Link

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