Teach & Serve II, No. 22 – One Song 2017
January 4, 2017
One of the greatest gifts of living in our society is that we are not all the same.
And yet we are one.
Stop me if you heard this one (and, if you read my blog last year, you did!): I love music. I’ve sung and played guitar in garage bands, cover bands, liturgical music groups and solo at coffee house gatherings on and off for the past 30 years. I am not a terrific player but I know that I am good enough to be the number 2 (okay, number 3) player in a group. Strictly rhythm and strictly out of the spotlight, my playing gives me great joy. It’s difficult to describe the feeling I get when a band is in a groove, making good music, having fun, playing and singing as one.
In thinking about the one song that I wanted to have in my head this year, the one piece I wanted to put at the top of every playlist to remind me of who I want to be this year, I thought, as I did last year, about the artists I love who seem driven and passionate themselves. I am the first to admit that my musical tastes are not vast but what I miss in diversity, I make up for in loyalty. For my song last year, I selected Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising.
I played the hell out of that song last year and it really personified who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live.
This year, I wanted to choose something proactive, something engaging and something that resonated with the personal theme I selected for myself on New Year’s Eve.
The theme I selected was kindness.
My one song for the year is One by U2.
One love/One life/When it’s one need/In the night
One love/We get to share it/Leaves you baby if you/Don’t care for it
Sometimes years do not go the way we think they should. Often our plans are not realized. We can be frustrated. We can be upset. We can even despair. But we get one.
One life. One chance. One opportunity to make a difference.
We make our difference through kindness. We make it through love.
Too late/Tonight/To drag the past out into the light
We’re one, but we’re not the same/We get to /Carry each other
We can live in the past. We can hold others’ slights against them. But we can also move beyond this, beyond our hurts and our fears. We can realize that we are not all the same, but we inhabit the same places.
How much better would our years be if we approached those places and people from kindness?
One love/One blood/One life
You got to do what you should/One life
With each other/Sisters/Brothers
One life/But we’re not the same
We get to /Carry each other/Carry each other
One of the best parts of Christmas Break is the break from dealing with so many personalities, the break from feeling the need to respond to so many varied pressures from people. One of the greatest gifts of that down time is to settle. To contemplate. To think.
All well and good, but one of the greatest gifts of our work is the very differences that can sometimes drain us. Students, parents, our colleagues, they come to us (sometimes they come at us) with a myriad of differences, from a myriad of perspectives, from a multitude of diversity. That’s one of the greatest gifts we share in education. Of course, one of the greatest gifts of living in our society is that we are not all the same.
And yet we are one.
Feels to me like some of that truth has been lost in recent months.
Let’s get it back.
It’s the beginning of a new year. More germane to us in the education game, it’s the beginning of a new semester. We’ve had time away from the grind. We’ve had time to recharge. We’ve been able (I hope) to take some reflection time. To assess what we did last semester. To emphasize and repeat the good things and to de-emphasize and adjust those that things that were not so good.
We have a chance to start a new. To refocus.
May I suggest we use some of the focus on kindness?
U2 – One