Yesterday I wrote about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, and I think I may have come off a little too cynical and angry. Not angry about Miley, but angry about the system that could have produced something like the circus that went down Sunday night. How can we blame Miley–the girl was 10 years old when Britney and Christina made out with Madonna on stage at the VMAs. Now she is 20 years old and SHE is on stage…. why would we expect anything other than tongues and teddies and twerking? (by the way, if you were wondering what “twerking” is, or how to do it, there is a very informative YouTube video HERE that can fill you in)
Anyway, as a lot of people have rightly pointed out, by focusing any attention at all on the spectacle, we may be feeding the very thing we should be trying to starve. Music is so much more than crotch grabbing and flesh-colored undies and sexuality. It is way more beautiful than “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” It connects us. I heard an NPR story about how when choirs sing together, the members’ hearts slow down and synchronize to each other and beat as one. It has the power to bind us together, and it has the power to make us cry ugly.
In the past day, these two videos have made me cry ugly, and they reminded me of the magical power of music. The first is of a woman named Sarah Horn who was called up on stage to sing a duet with Kristin Chenoweth. What happens next is the stuff of dreams. It’s so beautiful and inspiring that it seems like it’s staged. But it’s not. You can read about Sarah’s experience in her own words HERE. Get a tissue….
The second video is of a 96 year old man named Fred Stobaugh who entered a song-writing competition to pay tribute to his wife of 75 years, who had recently died. Her name was Lorraine. Keep that tissue handy….
There are times that make us feel hopeless, and sometimes it’s appropriate to spend some time talking about those feelings, but I’d rather be the sort of person who points out reasons for hope. It’s okay to point out things that need to be fixed, as long as we don’t get too overwhelmed. As I was reminded after the Sandy Hook shootings, sometimes we need to look for the helpers. When cynicism takes hold, we look for places of hope. When hate is all around us, we look for places of love. When things seem darkest, we look for places of light. And when we’re wading through waist-deep piles of garbage, we look for places of beauty. Let’s keep reminding each other that even though there is plenty of cynicism and hate and darkness and garbage to go around, they don’t stand a chance against hope and love and light and beauty.
Post Script: I swear I’ll get to why the Affordable Care Act is a good thing. Hold your horses….