A few hours before watching the memorial service to my favorite singer and entertainer, Michael Jackson, I was on YouTube seeing “The Making of Live Aid for Africa” – a musical extravaganza spearheaded by Michael and Lionel Ritchie that went on to raise over $60 million dollars in 1985 for fighting hunger in a famine-ravaged Ethiopia.
In addition to reminding me what made MJ special in my heart, the lyrics of the song also set off dormant, deeply buried memories – and set off a bright flash of insight.
“There’s a choice we’re making,
We’re saving our own lives,
It’s true we make a better day,
Just you and me!”
The verse has echoed in my mind for years. For decades.
And with a little shock of surprise, I realized that it, at least in part, had been responsible for my choice of career and direction – one that has touched and healed 47 little hearts until now, and hopefully will help many more.
Yes, it’s a choice I made many years ago. And the reason I was bold enough to make it was, probably, from knowing that by making it, I was “saving my own life”!
Sound corny? Not to an idealistic eighteen year old, no. It held promise – of a brighter future, a happier one.
And guess what? That ‘possible future’ is my daily reality today!
While peers and contemporaries are getting increasingly stressed out running on an ever-speeding up treadmill and getting nowhere, comforted by little more than the regular deposits in their bank accounts, I’m finding deep joy and spiritual nourishment from “making a better day” for people in need. Children with congenital heart defects.
Words have power – to inspire dreams.
Music has power – to infuse them with energy.
I’ve always envied kindergarden teachers for their incredible potential to plant seeds in fertile young minds that, over years, will sprout, grow and bear fruit in rich multiples of what first went into them.
But now I also envy singers, musicians, artists, writers and just about anyone else who has skills, talents and desire to use words and music to create impact.
Impact that goes far beyond anything you can consciously imagine. Impact that touches every little corner of the connected humanity that is our collective consciousness. Impact that manifests in so many strange, unexpected and delightful ways.
A song, co-ordinated, planned and performed by 30 artists on a summer day in 1985, can save thousands of lives in starving Africa – and at the same time inspire a young, aspiring doctor in India to set out on a dreamy path.
“Heal the world,
Make it a better place
For you, and for me,
And the entire human race”
That is impact. That is influence. That is what makes Michael Jackson a legend!
That is what the world celebrated in a fitting tribute to the ‘King of Pop’ on Tuesday, 7th July 2009.
It’s a celebration of the impact that words, music and memories made on millions of hopeful minds – over many decades.
We Are The World