May 5, 2009

Imagine That

I'm sitting here at my computer listening to the radio in my kitchen and Me and Bobby McGee by Janis J. came on. I was singing along: Busted flat in Baton Rouge....Kennntucky coal mines....sang the bluues, yeah...freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose, la la la la la la la laaa. As quick as you can say Hey Hey Hey Ba ba ba Bobby McGeeyeah I Googled the lyrics and was able to sing along flawlessly. Not quite as flawlessly as Janis, but I could satisfy my own ears here in my dining room.

Thirty years ago I would have given my button-down disco shirt with glistening gold thread for a lyrics-at-your-fingertips device as I laid on my best friend Jane's guest bed listening to WIFI 92 on her clock radio. Sure, there were a few songs I could sing straight through no prob. That was serious business back then. You ran to the radio every time a good song came on and memorized as quickly as you could so next time you could sing it through or at least get that one line that always caused a stumble. I mean who knew back then that Robert Plant actually said, "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now. It's just a spring clean for the May queen." Wha? Was he on acid or someth - er, never mind. If you had actually come up with those words your friends would have laughed you right out of your bean bag chair.

I remember once singing along with Billy Joel's Always a Woman and Jane's older brother stopping in the doorway listening, staring at me. I still can't believe I just kept singing, but some songs are irresistible, especially when you know every single word and inflection. He was impressed I could tell and I rarely impressed Brian.

I have a shining memory of Dad dancing and singing full out in the kitchen. He's wearing a blue t-shirt, holding a knife in one hand, lifting his arms into the air and lettin' loose to Against the Wind by Bob Seger. "Well I'm older now but still runnin'... Against the Wind...." Seems like yesterday, but it was long ago... (for those of you familiar with the song.)

I also knew the words to I Can't Tell You Why by the Eagles. My ear was pressed up against the radio every time that came on and I felt like the luckiest girl in the whole wide world to be in the vicinity of one when some DJ decided to play it. Look at us baby, up all night tearing our love apart. That was before I'd ever stayed up all night tearing a love apart.

A while ago I was driving down the highway and heard John Lennon's Imagine. I was pleased and began singing along. I know all the words there, but strangely I suddenly heard the song with new ears. I actually listened to the message in its entirety and realized I don't really believe in one word! I was a bit let down, it's such a beautiful ditty. It sounds nice and all. It uses the words Imagine and Heaven and Sky and Peace and Dreamer...but I can't say that I can jive with the whole thing. I don't want to imagine there's no heaven. Hey, the Bible says there's a Hell, so get over it. People living only for today? Sounds kinda like the cause of lots of today's problems. Not to mention that I hope in an even better tomorrow - like, in eternity, man. I simply don't want to think it's all brushing the dog and shopping at Trader Joe's. No countries - a world government!? Aren't we supposed to be wary of that development? It's funny, nothing to kill or die for...I don't know what that means, really, when I think about it. No need for greed or hunger, well I dunno if there's a need for them now!

All in all, sure, I understand what he's getting at, but when I break it down I lose him. I don't really want to "join them" in imagining there's no heaven - whoever they are with this pie-in-the-sky idea. And personally I'm trying to be a little less pie-in-the-sky myself before I float the heck away! I find groundedness and truth in Scripture and though it can have some sharp edges, it sure does say it like it is and it isn't "Imagine"-ative. And peace? There's a sore spot with me. I simply do not believe it is at all possible without Jesus, so I'd like to know where John thinks peace is coming from...peace just doesn't come out of discord, it comes from healing, a healer. We just can't dream it into existance without healing.

Sheesh, talking about putting down the whole world for livin' and skippin' around in peace and brotherhood. I'd never win a pageant with that attitude.

Anyway, here are JL's lyrics to his pretty song that I have, upon deciphering them without the use of Google, decided to sing anyway because they're pretty. I mean, if I'm willing to sing about bustles in hedgerows and this Bobby McGee fellow, why not peace and brotherhood and all...

Imagine there's no Heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one


rosemary said...

To be honest I was never into John. I do like Beautiful Boy. As for the do know that Jackson wrote one of their most famous songs....Take It Easy. You cracked me up...(remember that phrase?).....with the word ditty. As a matter of fact I do remember Against the Wind. Your dad must be really cool.

Paul Nichols said...

I like the Beatles, but I imagine that "Imagine" is their only song I don't like. It's wisdom or hope. Or Jesus.

I like the Eagles, too; ELO, Chicago, Alabama... I could go on and probably get your toes to tapping. And I'm a product of the 50s. Ta-da.

(Word Verification: "Fribula"
That's what gets sore after you dance all Friday night.)

Paul Nichols said...

I'm on a public computer. Ours went haywire. Pray for us. We're suffering from withdrawals.