by Jude Southerland Kessler … https://www.johnlennonseries.
“If the world demanded peace instead of another television set, there’d be peace.”
Two of my friends, Diane and Terri, are dealing with breast cancer and the aftermath of extensive treatments. My mother-in-law, Rose, just had hip replacement surgery. And annoyingly, for the first time ever, I’m encountering vertigo and ear problems.
Diane, Terri, Rose, and Jude: four different people of different ages in different cities with different ailments, and different doctors. But there is one common denominator: we all dropped everything to get well.
My mother used to say, “When you are ill, the world ends at the foot of your bed.” And as usual, she was right. When you have a broken bone or endure a serious medical condition, nothing matters until the cure is found or the treatment applied.
What if we reacted that way when our world was sick? What if we dropped everything when some maniac gunned down random strangers on a city sidewalk? What if we halted the world when a child was murdered in a drive-by shooting? What if everything just stopped until society’s illnesses were cured? We watch these tragedies unfold on TV, and we feel awful for the people involved … but because it isn’t our child, our friend, or our problem, we shake our heads and move on.
At the top of this piece, I quoted John Lennon: “If the world demanded peace instead of another television set, there’d be peace.” Okay, John. We’re with you. But tell us how to make that happen. How can we facilitate change, healing and peace? We need a step-by-step plan.
Well, when I was out running tonight, John’s 1968 song “Revolution” began playing in my earbuds, and there was the answer I needed! The song unfolded John Lennon’s detailed plan for facilitating change,
for seeking peace. In short, John advised:
1. Don’t just blather about change! Sure, “we all wanna change the world!” But to make it happen, you must devise a concrete, logical, doable plan.
2. If you’re considering violence and destruction as a means to an end, leave me out.
3. No matter what, keep believing that everything is going to be all right in the end.
4. If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is “go to your house and wait.” Hate cannot be supported. By anyone.
And finally, but most importantly:
5. Instead of blaming “the institution” for the ills around you, free your mind instead.
Oddly, John’s remedy for saving this world sounds very much like my kindergarten teacher’s favorite maxim. If anyone “tattle-taled” to Miss Liz about another student in the class, she would purse her lips and say, “Don’t worry about anyone else. Worry about you! Change you!” And Michael Jackson could not have agreed more. In his hit song, “Man in the Mirror,” Jackson sang,
I’m asking him to change his ways,
And no message could’ve been any clearer,
If they wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change!”
And that, in so many lyrics, is the foundation of John’s plan in “Revolution.” He urges us not to start by changing others. He looks us dead in the eye and says, “Free your mind instead.” Let peace begin with you. Let change start in your own heart … at the foot of your own bed.
As we move toward Thanksgiving 2021, isn’t this, perhaps, the appropriate time to search for small ways to heal the world around us? Maybe that means serving Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter or donating to the shelter so that they’ll have a dinner to cook. Maybe it means talking to a stranger and going out of our way to be kind. Maybe it means being a little more patient, a little more forgiving. Maybe it means reaching out to heal an old wound, regardless of whether you were at fault or not. This November, each of us could initiate our own Peace Revolution. If each of us demands peace instead of a new Black Friday TV, we just might see a difference. I’m game if you are … Happy Thanksgiving!