on Songs

“Every fragment of song holds a mirror to a past moment for someone” ~ Unknown

Have you ever heard a song that instantly transported you back in time? Not literally of course, but mentally? Something that triggered a memory, and called forth a longing in your heart for what you remembered to be happier days? That happens to me sometimes when a song from the 80s comes on the radio. That was the decade of transition for me, encompassing part of my high school and college years. Each song I hear seems to have its own individual memory attached to it; it’s interesting that I don’t get the same effect with songs from the 90s or later decades. Perhaps that is because the 80s were good years for me, and our nation has a break from war, and a break from the reality about how imperfect mankind really is.

Of course now that I am an adult and no longer a student I know the reality was that I was pretty sheltered from the fact that evil doesn’t ever really take a break, it merely shifts priorities.  I have learned that merely looking away from evil doesn’t mean that it goes away – it just means that you are in denial that it exists.  We all want to be happy, to hold onto the good for as long as we can, and many think that by living in denial or avoiding the truth or keeping out of the fray we can do that. Fighting evil is for others to do, right? It is a far off thing, that won’t affect us or our little corner of the universe, right? Let’s just play the music a little louder, reflect on those memories of brighter days, and it will all go away, right?

I think the problem here is that too many of us believe that it is an “either/or” thing: that we cannot be happy and fight the wrongs of this world at the same time. Fighting evil is just too time consuming, too hurtful, too draining, too costly. And I cannot deny that premise, as in looking at the lone warriors I too must come to the same conclusion.  But folks fail to realize that the reason why they see such consequences in those that fight is that far too few are fighting against the wrongs of this life, and that if others would only join them, the burdens could be felt far more lightly by all.  There is an old Amish saying that “many hands make light work”, and I believe that this is true in far more than just physical labor. Perhaps it shouldn’t be just evil that shifts priorities – maybe we should too.

By the time you read this the Iowa primaries will be over. These are the first volley that we have as citizens to impact the direction of our state and our nation. As of this writing I have no idea how the voter turnout will be, but can you imagine if every single Iowan decided to find their voice? If every single Iowan decided to replace the broken record in order to ensure that future memories tied to today were positive? Can you imagine if every single one of us, instead of focusing on the past, instead of focusing on ourselves, instead of focusing on failures decided that from this time onward, we will have a say in the type of song to be played? No longer will people avoid the fray because no longer would it be a lonely, fearful thing to stand for what is right, for what is good, for what is pure, for we will all be standing as one in support of our Republic. It is easy to be discouraged when everything seems so heavy, so hopeless. But we are stronger that we think; we have the power to control the music of our future and those notes which will forever ring in our children’s ears. I encourage every Iowan going forward to find something to be passionate about, something outside of work, outside of home, outside of church, to which you can affect positive change. I have seen what happens when a small group of people petition our government to do what is right – imagine what could happen if every human voice in our nation did the same. The heavy burden would no longer be carried by a few; the load would be that much lighter because of the many hands lifting it. And you know what else?

We would be unstoppable.

“Then, in that hour of deliverance, my heart spoke. Does not such a country, and such defenders of their country, deserve a song?” ~ Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), author of our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner

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