He would have been seventy this year, no doubt still spry and feisty, still concerned with the ills of the world, doing what he could to change them. Sadly, today, December 8th, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of his death. I speak of none other than John Lennon, a pioneer in music and another proponent of social conscience, felled this day by an assassin's bullet.
There is not much I can say that has not already been said of him and about him. I can only say that his fire still glows within many of us, as we look around at a world still plagued by poverty, disease, cruelty, war, and injustice. He accepted that some would think him a radical, a hippie, a freak, a rabble-rouser, and he was fine with that, choosing to turn his energies to making the world aware of the things that should concern us all, and caring little what anyone thought. It was his vision and his determination, that showed many of us the way, teaching us that you did not have to be a rich and successful music maker to do your part for social change, you only had to care about something, anything, but most of all, you had to care about people.
It is always easier, after the fact, to criticize, critique, and condemn, and many still see the things he did as somehow self-serving, but no man, no person, can be considered perfect, and we all must live with our foibles. His foibles just happened to be on display for the world to see. If he did not always put things tactfully, if he rubbed us the wrong way, if we thought what he said occasionally bordered on the egotistical, at least he got us to listen, and perhaps hear something that would make us think. He never seemed to tire of putting issues before us, dragging them from the dark places where we would prefer they stayed hidden. Unorthodox, maybe, but his words and his music set a tone, which said, in essence, "Look, this thing isn't going to fix itself -- we need to do something about it."
We will never know how much more he would have accomplished, and we can feel only sorrow at the loss of his talent, his passion, and his love. Let us not remember him this day in sorrow; let us, instead, remember the beautiful gifts he left us, the legacy that remains even to this day, and the nourishment he gave our souls. Bless you, John Lennon, wherever you may be, and thank you.