Do you remember any moments when you were so distraught over something, and the perfect song came on, giving you the wisdom and support you really needed at that very moment? That is what John Lennon has done for me. I had one of the most challenging weekends of my life recently, and the only thing that helped me to feel peaceful through all of it was the wisdom and music of John Lennon. I haven't heard anyone else sing so many songs that get right to my core, encouraging me to stay centered and peaceful, no matter what the circumstances. I wasn't always perfect, but neither was John.
I was recently in a conversation about John Lennon's first son, Julien. Anyone interested in Beatles history knows that if you need a moment to negatively judge John, his treatment of Julien is a perfect opportunity. According to my friend's understanding, John's treatment of Julien was unfair and questionable. But here is why I don't let that ruin all the peace lessons that I can find in John's music and activism:
According to my former Religious Studies professor, Dr. John Young, Martin Luther King, Jr was a "womanizer." Gandhi was an absentee father. Two of my greatest heroes were NOT perfect, and neither was John. Humans make mistakes, and it's unfortunate that often the greatest minds will show their ugly side to their families. Luckily, John was not a relative of mine, so I can listen to his music objectively. Just like I can read the great wisdom of Gandhi and MLK and learn from that wisdom alone, with no personal betrayal clouding my vision. No one is perfect.
For the past two weeks I have been faced with more challenging social interactions than I have had to deal with over the past two years. The amazing thing about these last two weeks, is that 95% of the time I was proud of myself for dealing with the challenges calmly and peacefully. A lot of that wisdom and peace was taught to me through the music of John Lennon.
Now that the challenging two weeks are over, I can listen to John with gratitude, as opposed to having a need for guidance. Music is so powerful. The songs that speak to us do so because we need their wisdom right at the moment. I am so grateful to John Lennon for the music he gave us, and for daring to share his wisdom and insights through his lyrics. Lyrics from the 70's that are SO relevant to us now, and always will be. That is what people mean when they say that certain songs are timeless. That is what John brought us. Timeless wisdom and universal truth.