For years, I thought my voice was what came out of other people’s mouths. Which was fine – they were speaking their truth – it just wasn’t mine. I hadn’t the experience of life to find out for myself. Eventually – with decades of life to draw upon – I saw there were commonalities between them and me. But, then I realized that just because I believe something to be true… doesn’t make it right… or wrong. It’s just that we’re all trying to explain our shared experience.
And, no matter how vibrant the colour of truths I discovered, there were always areas of gray. Still, there were also universal truths to which we can all relate – in various religions, poetry, songs, and inspirational treatises presented to the world by artists and learned men and women, all down through the ages. Unfortunately, they often disagreed among themselves. No one’s perfect; but, their message may be fine for you. So, why bother trying to understand? Because, in the end, isn’t it up to you… me?
Personally, I found the bible had a better metric to answer this dilemma: “Even if I know all mysteries and all knowledge… without love I’m nothing… a noisy cymbal!” Then I learned something else. As jazz saxophonist great, Charlie Parker, said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” What… you mean I have to actually be this stuff?
Beatles leader, John Lennon, concluded… the message of the Beatles was about learning to swim and then swim… not putting it on teachers…. you’re on your own. Yet, love is still patient and kind… does not keep a record of wrong. That’s not what’s been coming out my pandemic horn, lately.
“Well it’s alright, remember to live and let live
Well it’s alright, the best you can do is forgive”
~ End of the Line by The Traveling Wilburys
However, we’re never sorry tomorrow, for doing what’s right today; we can all read the writing on the wall. Like Simon and Garfunkel sang it, “Like a bridge over trouble waters, I will lay me down.”
This is no ordinary time. We still see people who are suffering; or, people being reminded that they’re not as equal as the rest of us. So, what can we do?
Lennon reiterated that the Beatles story is all about producing your own dream. I think that that’s reassuring during these Covid-19 times – where the future is so uncertain – causing many to become depressed and fearful. But, the Beatles message is exactly that: just accept it’s unknown… then anything is possible. People can’t provide it for us. We have to do it ourselves.
A famous author said he had been a professional jazz musician, then a sportswriter before having his first book accepted… ‘as one door closes.’ As anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Let’s keep open to every opportunity.
Photo is public domain
First published at Fred Parry
Guest Author Bio
Fred Parry lives in Southern Ontario. He is a lover of people and a collector of stories, music, wisdom, and grandchildren. His raison d’etre? “I’m one of those people who believe that if my work serves the common good, it will last; if not, it will die with me. As a freelancer – including ten years as a Torstar columnist – I still believe that’s true.” His book, ‘The Music In Me’ (2013) Friesen Press is also available via Indigo / Chapters.
Blog / Website: www.fredparry.ca