I was reflecting on the marching kids today and saw that it’s also the 49th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Bed In for Peace”. And I felt compelled to share with you. You can comment, pass along, ignore, whatever.
Think about it.
49 years ago. A demonstration for world peace.
And it didn’t work. It still hasn’t happened.
You’d think that someone as big and popular, as world affecting and committed as John Lennon could get something accomplished.
And then look at all the other amazing leaders of our world who have fought and stood boldly for world peace, who have been steadfast champions of love. They gave their all. Some, their lives.
And yet, those that fear and hate are still winning.
There still is war.
There still is killing and dying.
There still is pain and suffering.
There still is hate.
There is still no world peace.
And you may feel that all of this is futile. That all of this marching and singing and protesting and moving and emotional speeches will have no effect. That in the end of ends nothing will happen. That the surge of anger and demand for change towards a world of love and peace will, once again, subside and the tide of power and control, money and manipulation will come back to win.
And on one hand, perhaps you’re right.
After all, peace demonstrations, rallies, marches and all that stuff were going on way before John and Yoko decided to stay in bed. It hasn’t been 50 years of wasted effort, but more. Hundreds. Thousands. (Look at the Lysistrata, originally written in 411 BC)
And still, look at where we are today.
Those with money and power still win.
And then everything goes back to “normal”—our unpleasant, painful, fear-for-our-lives normal—until the next time something happens. And we do this ridiculous dance all over again.
What’s the point?
Nothing will ever change.
Or has it?
Perhaps there’s another way to look at it.
True, the main objective of John and Yoko’s Bed In was to end the war in Vietnam and create everlasting peace. And clearly that hasn’t happened.
The main objectives of the recent Women’s march was to create true equal rights and status for women. Well, hasn’t happened… yet.
The main objective for this current march of our youth is to change the gun laws and truly Make America Safe From Itself. And if the NRA and controlling politicians have anything to say about it (and you know they do) they’ll sit tight and wait for this all to subside and then come back just as before, as though nothing happened.
But something has happened.
While the big goal hasn’t been achieved, something shifted.
Consider perhaps what if John and Yoko hadn’t done their Bed In. John could have said, “What’s the point? We marched in Washington, we marched in Birmingham, we marched in Alabama and all over this country and it’s still as bad as ever. Nothing’s changed. Besides, the momentum of war and hate is just too big to stop. And I’m just one man. What can I really do?” And then decided to just go and have a lovely day doing whatever it was they would do on a lovely day.
Their crazy antics wouldn’t have blasted the news worldwide.
They wouldn’t have attracted the attention of other groups who were just as angry and done with the way things were going and inspired them into action.
He might not have written “Give Peace A Chance” (recorded during the bed in) which has become an anthem for future Peace marches and events.
And the fire wouldn’t have been fed. The fire of peace that burns within us and cannot, will not, be extinguished.
What if they hadn’t done that “ridiculous publicity stunt” (as it was called by some)?
Maybe the war would have lasted longer. Maybe not.
Maybe down the line, following the butterfly effect, there have been other wars and oppression that have actually been avoided that we’ll never know. (because it lies in another timeline in another parallel universe).
And perhaps those men, women and children over the last 49 years up to today wouldn’t have had the momentum to build upon. Maybe they wouldn’t have the courage to take a stand. An anthem to build upon. And maybe any or all of those other marches might not have been as big or powerful, or perhaps never have happened at all.
So what’s the point?
Even if we don’t make a difference, it’s important that we try our best to make a difference. And that’s the point.
Because without trying, without doing our best, without committing fully to what we want to create and achieve, without holding fast to what we believe in and finding others who can join in the conversation, then nothing truly will change.
And it’s not just gun laws, or women’s rights, or civil rights, or gay rights, or any one group’s rights. It’s about taking a stand for what you believe in. It’s about having the courage and conviction to move forward, against the tide, against the opposition, against the fear-based way, against the small thinking and the easy comfort of the status quo.
We can even take this to a smaller scale and apply this to you and your life.
What do you want in your life?
What is your desire and dream?
What do you wish for?
Yes, I know the argument that comes up. “What’s the point?” (Sound familiar?)
“The momentum is too big to stop.” (But everything moving has momentum, as long as you keep feeding it. Even the momentum of Peace and Love. Even the momentum of creating the life that you love.)
“I’m just one person.” (And it only takes one person to tip the scale.)
“What can I do?” (The answer is, ANYTHING. But if you don’t try, then guaranteed NOTHING.)
So today, consider what is the stand that you want to take for yourself (let’s start easy for now). What do you want for your life? And then do something today, and every day, to move towards it.
Along the way, you’ll build momentum. You’ll find new things to add to your fire. You’ll find partners and structures to help you move farther and faster. You’ll start seeing little successes pop up that affirm you’re on the right path.
And you’ll meet opposition. Status quo. Blocks. Fear. Anger. Resistance. That “other” momentum. You’ll be challenged and called out for bucking the system and disrupting, large amount of energy will be devoted to keeping you quiet, keeping you small, keeping you still.
And yes, you may never actually achieve your final goal.
But that makes it even more worth doing.
John and Yoko probably deep down knew they wouldn’t actually achieve world peace just by staying in bed for a week and singing songs. The monster of war was just too big at that time. But that’s what made it worth doing.
The powers and people that control can’t be stopped. The machine is too powerful. But that’s what makes this worth doing.
The forces that keep us in our old ways are too strong to change. But that’s what makes it worth doing.
That’s what makes all of this important.
And sometimes… just sometimes… changes actually do happen.
We may not have the World Peace that has been called for, strived for, lived and died for by so many. But we do have a lot that wasn’t there before.
Change has happened.
Things have shifted in some ways towards that world peace.
Of course not all the way, but in some ways.
Changing big things is near impossible. And that’s what makes them worth doing.
You may even be wondering, “Yeah Ben, nice sentiment. You bring up some great points. But what’s this really going to do? Do you think that sending this out will change anything?”
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
But that’s not the point, right?
The point is to speak out loud. To find and connect with those who feel as you do.
And one little voice can inspire another little voice. Which can inspire others to collect. Which can inspire many to march. Which can activate new actions. Which can create change.
So thank you John and Yoko for staying in bed, and Gandhi for not eating, and Martin Luther King Jr. for dreaming, and all those brave and amazing women and men of our past, and the children of our present and future.
Keep feeding the fire.
“You may say 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.”
-ben dooley, MCC