One Person Really Does Make a Difference
I already wrote how I feel about John Lennon on his birthday. It is much better to celebrate someone's life than their death. But I can't let this day go by without sharing some of what he meant to me in my life. I, like many children of the seventies, were spoon-fed The Beatles almost like classical music. They were all over the radio and so it was just part of the landscape of my existence, and not something to think about. When I did stop to think about them it was always with awe and curiosity, especially when it came to John. Who is this guy? Why is he so outspoken? My mother always painted him out to be this crazy drug addict who posed naked on album covers and who certainly shouldn't be admired or listened to with any ounce of seriousness. But there was something about him that made me think. I liked him.
When I was eighteen I was coming out of some pretty bad experiences from my high school years, along with a messed-up early childhood that had left me quite frail. My estimation at that point: life was hard and people were cruel and I, despite trying, had failed to fit in. I was literally struggling every day to not kill myself. I'd drive home from work and scream in the dark of my car until I couldn't scream any more. I was terribly alone and felt like the whole world had abandoned me. I prayed one night in my car that I could find real love to help me get through. I heard Imagine and it changed my entire life. It showed me that there is a thread of real love in this world available for all. There is a beauty and wisdom in being a human; in our pain and in our shared experiences. That some people really do see past the lines and walls, the skin, the money, the sex, the power—some people love you despite and because you are just you. I learned this from John Lennon and I will always love him.
Around his birthday they had a showing of his art, and let me tell you how touching it was to see his humor and his love for all the things in this world, including his family drawn out in such delicate lines. He, despite his faults, was precious to this earth. The queue went far out into the building.