Does one have to do a new John Lennon post every year, on December 8? Of course not. Does one want to? Yes!
At least this one does. This one is compelled… This one must express… this one writes in order to never forget… and to make sure that the legacy endures. No one needs me to do this. John will be long remembered without me… But it is like lighting a candle and holding it high… The more of us that do it, the brighter the light, the greater the hope and the stronger the wish and the thought.
Is it odd that it happens on the day of his death? Perhaps. I do try to do one on the day of his birth, as well… since one is a mourning and the other a celebration.
Remembering anyone in a public way is communal. It allows us to come together and heal. To focus on what is truly important in this life… Music… Love… Peace… Harmony…
Just as a birth brings people together in joy, a funeral brings people together in sadness. But hopefully being together in time and space brings us the ability to move forward, to find touchstones and connections, to live. Death must remind us that we are here to live, fully, every single day.
I think with someone like John Lennon there is also a larger point, one that must not be ignored. His death brings up lessons we have sadly yet to learn. Gun violence… mental illness… the dangers of celebrity… We get close, and then nothing… Since 1980 there have been only baby steps… and that is a shame.
Let John Lennon’s death be not in vain.
On December 8, 1980 his living voice was silenced. His music, his words and the recorded sound of his voice will live forever.
Today comes on the heels of the world losing another advocate for peace and equality, another fighter for freedom… Nelson Mandela. The power of both men is staggering… both on a platform or stage… both in front of a microphone… both using their history and position and leadership to try to move their people, the universe forward… Into a better realm and a better reality.
Their words were both poetic, both poetry and both so specific in intention.
They were music… They are music.
It saddens me to think that in many parts of the world, making music is not a given freedom… listening to music is not free.
Music is a gift, as is love and joy and freedom… We must cherish “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
The great men and women of our times took this to heart… and to action… To word and to deed.
So light your candle… hold it high… and play your music loud.
Embrace the love, embrace the sadness and use it as your guide.
“Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans.”
“On a cold December evening
I was walking through the Christmas tide
When a stranger came up and asked me
If I’d heard John Lennon had died
And the two of us went to this bar
And we stayed to close the place
And every song we played
Was for the late great Johnny Ace, yeah, yeah…”