So many of the people who've shaped my life died before I could even read about them. In the case of John Lennon, it didn't have to be that way.
It's been said often that Lennon had found his way, his way to a long, prosperous life, being the father and husband he discovered he should be. I've read about his life enough to know he was far from perfect---maybe his recurrent sin was to push people away with his trademark sarcasm, which never failed to deliver him words, if not protection. He could be visionary, he could be so bitter, he could bring together so many people, he was so alone. The many contradictions were apparent to him, too, and they fueled so much of his work. They gave him failings that made him relatable to people. They gave him hopes for what we all just might be, and words set to memorable tunes to comfort us, encourage us, try to inspire a better world that might come about...someday...if only one person at a time.
I wish I had the raw tapes of his last album---they are out in a box set, Gimme Some Truth---as I do not need all the garnishments of strings and arrangements to appreciate this clever, sage, enormously gifted song writer. Almost every record he made had some text to reveal his inner life. His last songs told us he was ready for his life, what it held, where it was going. I hope we can all reach that peace before we are laid to rest in this world.
I wish I could fill these lines with my memories of keeping up with John and the viscissitudes of his career and life, but those belong to another generation. I look around and wonder if what he had to say really reached those people. But I can't judge. Besides, I have touched by people who carried some of that same energy, those same questioning beliefs, that big loving heart.
His music, and his collaborations, have given me a direct link to people I liked instantly, and words that have aided our conversations. He helped us communicate. He provided us goodness in music, and independence and boldness in his example. Our music is how we live, how we create, the essence of our very souls---the music in what we do, in our activities, the music that moves us to act and music that arrives to help us give comfort to others.
To become part of another one's music is to become a part of that person. I hope I have passed along a little part, with my words, of inspiration itself, and thank you, John Lennon, for sharing yours with us so generously, for digging so deep, for believing so strongly, and for making music that has been my life long friend.
So much of the pain in our world just doesn't seem to go away, while people inevitably do someday. A war can stay, but only so long as you fight it. A song can stay, but only so long as you sing it.