by Jude Southerland Kessler
Author, The John Lennon Series … The Only Historical Narrative On the Life of John Lennon
This week in “the City of Fountains” (and the Chiefs!), Kansas City, temps will plummet into the 30s at night. And though Louisiana is blessed with balmy 70s during the day and mild 50s at night, we know that gradually, the sky is donning its “hazy shade of winter” (with nods to Simon and Garfunkel). We are all inching toward winter. And for some people, that’s depressing.
The Beatles reminded us that when things look and feel the worst (when politicians battle instead of perform, when friendships are lost in political vitriol, when religion becomes a motive for persecution once again), there is still hope. Indeed, George Harrison once reminded us that even in the darkest days, hope lies ahead:
“Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here!
Here comes the sun; here comes the sun,
And I say, “It’s all right!”
The last time that I visited New Orleans (sigh of remembrance!!!), instead of doing the “same ole, same ole,” I set out on foot to seek out new sights and new inspirations. And quite serendipitously, I found the towering, breathtakingly lovely Church of the Immaculate Conception on Baronne Street, across from the Roosevelt Hotel and close to the French Quarter. Ducking into the front alcove to escape an unexpected (but not unusual) pop-up NOLA rainstorm, I wrangled with the immense, wooden door, tugged it open, and quietly, stepped inside.
What I discovered there was a haven of loveliness. For many minutes, I simply stood in awed silence, turning in a slow circle, looking around, taking in the beauty. I listened. I noticed.
First, high on one wall, I found an immense, shaded rosette window, sheltered in shadows. Shielded. I regarded it for a long time.
Then, my eyes wandered to another, magnificent upper window, burning with light.
What a lesson was there for me! The two windows were identical: constructed of the same glass, iron and oak, designed by the same brilliant artist, and created in the very same year. But one was dull and uninviting, while the other was vibrant and breathtakingly lovely. The single difference in these two works of art was that one sat in darkness while the other shone in the sun.
That contrast reminded me of an early Beatles lyric penned by Sir Paul McCartney, which states:
“Tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.”
A lovely bit of poetry? Yes, of course. But it’s so much more than that. In the song, Paul is making a crucial decision. He is consciously choosing to follow the sun. And whether we sing about it or not, we are also called to decide. Each day, every day, we’re given the option to turn our faces to joy, hope, and happiness … or to turn away, shielding ourselves in darkness.
It’s our choice to join the mud-slinging towards those who don’t share our politics, or to reach out in kindness to those who don’t share our beliefs. It’s our choice to pass along lies or to strive for truth. It’s our choice to be gentle spirits instead of raging bulls. It’s our choice to radiate rather than fade out.
Despite the negative all around me, I don’t want to be an unlit window. I don’t want to chill others with my “hazy shade of winter.” In this world of despair and discord, I want to SHINE ON.
Do you? Then today, please join me…
“Here comes the sun. It’s all right!”
Enjoy listening to “Here Comes The Sun”: https://youtu.be/xUNqsfFUwhY