“Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people, sharing all the world. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one.” ~ John Lennon
On the evening of December 8, 1980 – John Lennon was shot dead outside the Dakota apartments where he lived with his wife Yoko Ono and their young son, Sean.
I remember hearing it on the news. I was twenty. It was one of those moments that you knew you’d never forget. You knew where you were when you heard. You couldn’t forget the surreal feeling of abject disbelief that anyone would shoot a man who’d dedicated his life to peace. I remember crying for days. I remember sitting in the car weeping when “Beautiful Boy” played on the radio, which it did all the time. I remember the cover of Rolling Stone featuring the photo of John nude, his body wrapped around his wife, as if in prayer or supplication.
And thirty-two years later, the fact that we’ve missed out on what John might have done — on everything he would have written, drawn, composed — well, the world’s a bit darker for it. I can’t believe he’s been gone that long. He’d be in his seventies — like my mother — had he not been murdered.
I subscribe to his son Julian’s Facebook page. Julian has a ribald sense of humor, which I love, and I am a total whore for basically anything British, so I enjoy seeing his posts. He recently shared his latest project, a series of photographs of nature, clouds, and pastoral landscapes. It’s new territory for him, but he’s still exploring. His father would be so proud of him.
And Yoko and Sean are fighting the Keystone pipeline and the whole notion of natural gas fracking, for environmental and humane reasons. They’ve bought billboards outlining the horrors of fracking.
Tonight I am thinking about the visible and invisible changes happening in the world.
The restless feeling that a birth is about to happen, that light is returning, that our dark obsession with things — with money and power — is coming to a close. That our need to devour the earth and its resources is starting to seem like the brand of insanity that it has always been.
I guess I am both hopeful and nostalgic. John died just a month after Reagan was elected president. The whole mess (Reagan’s election) depressed me because unlike others, I did not see an amiable old cowboy in Ronnie. I saw trouble with a capital T. And thirty years later, everything that Reagan set in motion in the years after John died has brought us to this moment in history. This state of inequality. This state of distress on the environment and on the human heart. His policies began the slow and deliberate poisoning of our society.
Still, I am hopeful.
I am hopeful because people who love each other in my home state of Washington can get married. Finally, gay or straight, love is love. They can also legally get baked in the privacy of their homes (as of December 6). I am hopeful because more women got elected in this last round of elections. I am hopeful because the messages regarding climate change and GMOS and garbage floats and fluoride and organic food are finding an audience. I am hopeful because there are two little fraternal twins (my nephews) who were born during all these changes. They must have a profound mission in this life, arriving at such a crucial juncture. They certainly brought much needed joy and light to my mother.
I am hopeful because in the heart of my heart I know that grace is returning.
What would John think of all of it?
One world. Equality. Sharing resources. Peace.
Sounds like his dream is finally coming true.
© 2012 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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