I remember that clear, cool September night under the stars, listening to John Mayer perform, “Waiting on the World to Change.” He seemed to know the frustrations and angst in everyone in the crowd.. At the time, Mayer was one of my favorite singers and some of his lyrics were thought provoking and they still hold true today. It is a simple song that holds a lot of great truths.
Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could
Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it
Of course, some of these lyrics are contextual, but I think he grasped in just a few lines how the angst against the perceived powers in control will be better when we are in control. This
“we” is how most younger generations have felt. Sometime in my late 30’s I went from being someone who felt a part raging against this machine, to becoming a cog in the wheel, “get off my lawn” kind of person.
I am not meaning this politically, but merely in the generational sense, that I did not understand most of the younger adult people that I worked and lived around. In my early adult life, I often chose to serve others and help others over being there and helping my own family. I bought into the lie that you can serve others and everything else will fall into place. I know this not to be true now.
We have to find this ever illusive balance that so many strive for, but I so rarely see. I walk my neighborhood and see plenty of people chasing after money, addictions, and fame. I see the rare person who serves other people or who plays with their children in their yard. This life seems unsustainable to me as one part of a DINK (double income no kids) couple.
I feel because we as a society have, in many ways, given up on this balance, we only find time for people and causes that make us feel like we are making a difference in our opinions. We are so swelled up with news that we only read news from our “trusted sources,” that we do not consider what it means to be a different social class, race, or sexuality.
Where do we start? We have to start with ourselves, becoming the kind of people we want to see in others. I speak this to myself today, as I like to the sideline coach of my life, rarely being the player who acts on the calls of the coach.
Where do we go?
We start making one good choice a day and sticking with it. For me, it has included running a mentoring club for students after school, forming a writing club, having conversations challenging values, but I know the greatest work is in me. Just doing things does not help, until we really work on the biases and judgments we place on others. Social justice is necessary for our society, but we must work on the injustices we hold latent in our hearts as well.