Today would have been John Lennon's 73rd birthday had he not been shot and killed when he was forty years old and that's been thirty-three years and I still can't believe it. Still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he's gone.
I'm having a rough time of it today.
I read Grady Doctor's beautiful post about her daddy's 70th birthday and I started crying and the tears just flowed.
Sometimes when I'm low, so low, it all goes back in my mind to not having a daddy which is ridiculous but perhaps it's not. I doubt I'll ever get over missing my father after my mother left him. And she had to leave him, there's no doubt about that. Combine some serious alcoholism with a gun and you gotta get out of there. And she did and she was brave to do it and there was no choice and the daddy I missed wasn't real and the real one could conceivably have killed me and my mother and my brother, given one push further towards the edge of insanity, but you know. A little girl wants a daddy and that's all there is to it.
Which is why having a stepfather who took that incredibly innocent vulnerability and need and abused the hell of it for his own personal insanities made it even all the more horrendous and this is how dysfunction (such a nice, tidy, scientific word) occurs: one messed up situation leading to another which leads to the establishment of really unhealthy patterns of behavior and hell...where I am going with this?
Yesterday I listened to our president speaking about what's going on in Congress and I thought about something John Lennon said in one of his last interviews about government. He said that every four years we elect a new daddy and I think he's right.
Obama spoke calmly and without rancor. He tried to walk the thin line between scaring the shit out of us about what's going to happen if the US goes into default and making us all very aware of the dangers of that. He named names. He made his refusal to sit down and negotiate with the petulant bad-seed children who have arisen from the Tea Party quite clear. He was strong, he was firm, he was reasonable.
I wished he was my daddy.
I'm glad he's our country's daddy at the moment.
We, as a nation, have gotten into some extremely unhealthy and dysfunctional patterns of behavior and now it's gotten to the point where the health of the country is clearly at stake. "This is not how democracy works," the president kept saying.
It's John Lennon's birthday. I should post one of his joyful songs because this is not the anniversary of his death but of his birth but instead, I find myself thinking of this song which is one of his most painful. Still, I think it is one of his most beautiful songs because it comes straight up from a time of deep suffering with unwavering honesty.
All lives hold those times, as do the lives of countries and so much of the pain and the unhappiness and suffering, whether of individuals or of countries, come about through disease, bad choices, selfishness, and dare I say it? Religion and the way it is used to brainwash the masses, which is one of the tools in the Tea Party's tool box along with fear (death panels?) and flat-out lies which are all being used to great advantage.
There will always be people like that. Too many of them.
But there will also be those who are born to speak the truth, no matter what, no matter how painful the message is.
May they forever be honored and their voices never stilled.
I miss John Lennon. I did not have a daddy but I had, in some way, John Lennon. So did we all.
And as with all truth-tellers, whether of artists or presidents, their messages, their voices, do not die.