Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Imagine"


Not long ago, I heard John Lennon’s Imagine on the radio and was unable to get the tune and the sentiment out of my head.  This was in the early days of the Zimmerman trial, as the dialogue on the nightly news grew more heated, and even before the verdict sparked worry of riots. Perhaps that’s why the tune stuck with me.  Add to that situation the never-ending conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and  the violence that’s been brought to our shores in the name of religion, and I can’t help but think how sad it is that Lennon’s lyrics, written in 1971, are nowhere near a reality some 40 years later.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

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, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

I hadn’t realized, until I googled the song, that it had been recorded for the end credits at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, nor that it has been, since 2005, played “just before the New Year's Times Square Ball drops in New York City.”

As I sit here writing, I’m humming the tune and reflecting on Wikipedia’s description of Lennon’s song: “The best-selling single of his solo career, its lyrics encourage the listener to imagine a world at peace, without the divisiveness and barriers of borders, religions and nationalities, and to consider the possibility that the focus of humanity should be living a life unattached to material possessions.”  
 
To be sure, war and violence in the name of race, creed, religion, nationality and just plain greed have been going on since the dawn of time.  I suppose this long sad history doesn’t give us reason to believe things will change, but thankfully, that doesn’t stop most of us from continuing to hope they will.