Friday, October 9, 2015

Letter to John Lennon on your 75th Birthday

Happy Birthday John Lennon. You would have been 75 today.

You've been gone almost as long as you were alive, yet those of us left still remember you, and your life contribution on days like today. Each of us has a story about how you inspired or touched a moment in our lives; of how your music, art, words, and charismatic leadership deeply moved us. Your legacy is still larger than life; your words then were just as poignant as they are today, and even your death could not erase you from the earth. That even your death, that we called "tragic", at the hands of a mentally ill man, has done nothing to eradicate your legacy.

In fact being a humanitarian and a voice for the people all your life, I bet you are wondering why we haven't been having the discussions about people with mental health issues. Your brief life was taken at the hands of a man with the disease that creates a lack of understanding amongst the elite of the industry. I'm sure you know now that your death had nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the torment of the unhealthy mind who took it.

Yet, you might be wondering why someone with the influence you carried in the world, such a voice for the people, could be murdered by a mentally ill human being, and we celebrate your life, instead of using it to raise awareness for Mental Health, and the cost it has on us all. I can imagine that you are looking down and wondering if we are missing the point here. Your death could have been used as a great message to us all about the issue of Mental Health. Yet, we seemed to have missed the point on this one.

Of all the human achievement we have caused, all the technologies, all its advancements, it is all worthless without a healthy mind and body. The conclusion of your story is mired with opening up that conversation, and yet we have not used it as such. You were such a revered artist that we seem to lament your loss, and not use it for the betterment it could be used for. Then your greatest gift to us all could have been that you didn't die in vain at the hands of a random gunman, and a game of chance. Your death served a purpose for us to pick up the conversation about Mental Health Awareness, and use it to heal our broken world.

And yet wars still rage, innocent children and people die at the hands of gunmen in our schools, and churches. Religious fascism reigns and hides behind the blanket of God, and the Mental Illness eludes us because we don't recognize it. We blame guns, religion, racism, and anything else we can muster instead of looking within the cause of the disconnect. We hate and react instead of Love and understand. We condemn instead of embrace. We do this because we simply don't understand Mental Illness.

Mental Health needs a helping hand. We need to invest in Mental Health Awareness in order to create healthy balances, which will empower minds rather than destroy them. The reward is simple. A healthy mind creates. It educates, inspires and leads from example of possibility. A deranged mind destroys in one second what took a lifetime to create, and the impact of that destruction lasts generations. Yet, we still don't seem to find it beneficial to learn this lesson, John and you've already figured this out.

So my apologies to you, John. I'm sure you're waiting for us to "get" it, and realize that although it was done to you, it was done for us to figure out. We're slowly getting there, but we will be taking slow baby steps until more lessons like this are learned from. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

I hope you are in the peace that you spoke so fondly about. I hope you are smiling down at us with such an adoration of Love that we cannot fathom or understand it. I hope your Golden Slumbers fill your eyes, smiles awake you when you rise. Sleep pretty darling, do not cry. And I will sing a lullaby.

To where you are, John Lennon.