There is music about us. If we were not so distracted by the cacophony of our differences and the clangs of our disagreements, we truly would have heaven on earth. Humanity is a symphony, all of us are blessed with wonderful gifts and amazing talents we could blend into soaring melodies if we only learned to coexist. Alas politics and ideologies still the music and quiets the harmony we could otherwise attain if we embraced our commonalities and our divergences.
It is easier to fall into the trap of indignation and sensationalism than it is to appreciate the beauty of us. I too am guilty of this; as much as I speak against politics and manufactured outrages, I sure do spend a lot of time writing about them. Today was no different as I spent all of last night writing a scathing article about who we have become as a society. But to what end? This is a question that has been perplexing me for as long as I have been writing.
A moment reflecting required a some time to listen to music. If writing is my first love, music is my soul mate. I can’t even write unless I have my ear buds on listening to my favorite singers and jazz artists. I realized this one thing in my life; the times where depression pierced my heart in the past was when music was absent. Music is both my doctor and my elixir, a day without songs is a day of doldrums. Click To Tweet
You can then imagine my delighted surprise when I clicked on a YouTube link of a concert Shania Twain performed with Willie Nelson (watch video below). Something made me pause and just listen to her music and watch Shania sing live on stage. What I was treated to was a most stunning performance. In the age where singers sound like Whitney in the studio only to croak like frogs away from soundboards and digitally enhanced audio tracks, there was Shania belting “Forever and For Always” in ways that matched, if not exceeded, the recorded version.
Instantly the angst I’ve been feeling about politics melted away and the frustration of the ways we are devolving into the abyss of pettiness lifted off my chest. Music was there to remind me that there are grander things in life than to stay gazing into the navel of partisan gamesmanship. For four and a half minutes, I just tuned out the ruckus of breaking memos and DC innuendos and just listened to Shania sing while Will Nelson strummed his guitar.
I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to the ways of society and our governance. Do I stick my head in the sand and leave it to a greater power than me to figure it out? Do I do my part and speak against injustice and divisiveness even if I am powerless to do anything about it? For every answer, there are a thousand more that beckon. Perhaps this is why the drama of our politics is so compelling; when we feel powerless to change our circumstances, we let circumstances change us.
But what if the answer is music? Instead of trying to prove points to one another and conquer others, what if we just appreciate humanity the way we understand art. The list of people who hate politics is endless but I have yet to meet one person who hates music. That is because music is redemptive; we don’t fight about music we just listen as it moves us. Maybe one day we will listen to each other the way we listen to our favorite songs and in that moment might finally find the harmony that can last Forever and For Always. #ShaniaAlways
“If music be the food of love, play on.” ~ William Shakespeare
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Check out the performance of Shania Twain which inspired this article and get lost in the music.
Check out my homage to music, this is a Ghion Cast that I put together during my moment of hardship where music guided me through it.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.