After the Berlin Wall came down, and a couple other huge things happened around the world in 1989, Jesus Jones put this song out.
I’ve loved that song for almost 30 years now, and I think about it all the time. I think about it when any big deal happens in the United States or somewhere else around the world to move history forward and increase personal freedom and opens up human connection. A lot happened in the world that influenced me from 1989-1992 or so, when I was my son’s age and old enough to have some kind of grasp on world events. Apartheid ended in South Africa after 50+ years of government sanctioned mandatory racial segregation and discrimination, and Nelson Mandela was freed to become the leader of South Africa and one of the most respected world leaders in modern history.
Protests in Tiananmen Square in China were faced with military force, and one student stood in front of a line of tanks. Still the bravest thing I’ve ever seen, more than 30 years later. That image is seared into my head whenever I start getting down thinking that one person can’t make a difference.
And of course, the Berlin Wall fell and East and West Germany reunified into Germany.
And I’ve thought of that Jesus Jones song a few times in the past decade or so too. When the United States elected a black president twice. When the US Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was legal. I played that song to myself in my head. That song makes me feel good. But there’s one line in it that bugs me now as a reasonably well educated and informed adult: “I saw the decade in when it seemed the world could change in the blink of an eye…”
None of these changes came in the blink of an eye. They came after decades of struggle and suffering and the hard work of a lot…A LOT…of people. It takes a lot of people working hard together with a lot of persistence to change the world, at least it seems that way to me when the change is for the better…when the change is progressive.
And oddly, I’ve been thinking about that song a lot lately. Even though the song was written to celebrate progressive change and hard won unity and that’s not a place we’re at in history right here, right now. Right here, right now, I’m sure nearly everyone has at least a few other places they wanna be. And personally, I wish the world would wake up from history already, because the alignment with darker parts of history is getting to be a little too uncanny for anyone with a conscience and logic and empathy’s comfort.
But I think what put this song in my head was the afternoon I had yesterday. J’s been off work this week. For ‘vacation.’ Obviously, we didn’t travel. We didn’t do anything fun and adventurous like we’ve done for the past several summers in a row, full of nature parks and museums and zoos and amusement parks and long trips on the road in our RV. We mostly did work around the house. But we got a lot accomplished together. Cleaned out all of our file cabinets and closets and our garage and back yard shed. J built some shelves. J and The Boy fixed our trailer and J’s bicycle and The Boy’s RC car where needed. We took walks together through our neighborhood and my parents’ neighborhood (which is the community J and I lived in when we were a new couple before we bought our house) and several local parks. We saw lots of trees and flowers and shrubs and really looked at them to learn about them. We saw a duck family yesterday morning. And then, yesterday afternoon, I had a text conversation with my best friend, who is a Southern California native, and a long time Disneyland pass holder and she said she and her family were really missing Disneyland. She used the word ‘withdrawal.’ And I get it. I told her because of the area and manner in which J and I were raised, we didn’t really live near, nor could we afford to go all the time if we did live near, anywhere universally recognized as special and cool like Disneyland. But just in the 3 trips we’ve been fortunate enough to make there since 2012, I get it. The restriction of just knowing you CAN’T go to a place you love (or really anywhere too new or different even) is kind of sad. And then she told me that she and her family had been watching silly YouTube videos of other people walking around and doing things at Disneyland (in the past…obviously not right here, right now), and that was making them feel better. So I asked her for some recommendations and then we watched some YouTube videos of folks having days at Disneyland, California at the same time, 3 time zones apart, and we chatted with each other via text while watching them. We talked about memories we had of Disneyland, both separately and together. And y’all, no foolin’…I honestly felt like I was having a day at Disneyland with my best friend. While I was there on my couch, and she was probably on hers…2000+ miles and 3 time zones away from each other. And that song began playing in my head. For a couple of HOURS, that’s what we did together yesterday afternoon, my best friend and I. We went to Disneyland together…sort of. And I heard, ‘Right here, right now…there is no other place I wanna be…’ in my head. I hope she did too. And I hope we can go to Disneyland together again very soon…maybe in the next year or two for real…and maybe even in the next day or two virtually.
This is a strange post, but I wrote it because I know so many people are having a hard time right here, right now. It is possible to find something to celebrate and feel good about right here, right now, though. And I wanted to recognize that in writing because it helps me to find those things. I need to find those things in order to keep fighting in the long struggle for progress and connection and to ease and end suffering.
Stay safe. Listen to qualified scientists and experts and your own conscience and sense and soul. Take care of yourselves and as many other people as you can. ❤