Friday, July 5, 2019

Yesterday: How I Spent My 4th

I will take a slight detour today from looking at the state of the church.  We just passed July 4th.  My husband was so impressed by President Trump's speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, that I sat down and watched it this morning.  It was very good, and reminded us of how people make the difference in history.  No matter where we serve, if we serve God by serving one another, history marches to a better beat.

I spent my 4th with a dear friend over lunch, and then I went and saw the movie, Yesterday.  It was brilliant and reminded how much The Beatles are part of who I am.

I was a little kid when my older brother ran in a neighbor's house where I was playing and said, "You've got to hear this!" to the neighbor's son.  There were four guys on the album cover, and I could read the title: Meet the Beatles.  The year was 1964.  I was only four years old, but I remember my brother's exuberance.  He was in a state of excitement I remember to this day.  I didn't understand why, but over the course of ten years, I would hear every Beatles' album, playing on my brother's stereo. 

In 1967, another explosion of excitement:  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out.  I was seven.  My mom read the lyrics on the back cover and was very impressed by them.  My brother played that album over and over.  I wondered who Mr. Kite was, what getting "high with a little help from my friends" meant but loved the music all the same.  The orchestra arrangements, the carnival sounds, and the eerie sound effects were compelling and fueled my imagination.

When Yesterday was released, I told my daughter I was going to see it.  She said, "Of course you will, Mom."

It is brilliant, as I said, and a lovely reminder of just how innovative The Beatles were.  In trying to explain to my daughter how they alter popular music forever, she listened patiently, but today's music echoes those innovations, and seems so normal that it is hard to imagine a time when music wasn't  like that.  It struck me as I talked to her: you'd had to be there.

The movie explores the idea that how would the world look now had the Beatles not been around.  This young man wakes up in a alternative universe where certain cultural icons we all know, are not part of Western culture--coke and the Beatles, to name a few.  He then tries to remember all their songs and takes credit initially for writing them.

I won't say anymore, but the defining moment for me was when he was sticking sticky notes to his wall of all their song titles.  The bounty of songs those boys managed to produce was breathtaking.

I have grown weary of my country over the last few years.  I have grown deeply disturbed over the state of the church in America.  But for a few hours yesterday, I could relive and relish a time when popular culture made me excited, and music was powerful, meaningful and impacted the culture for good.

Yes, I know:  the 60's were not perfect, not every song and not everything the Beatles was sublime.

But the exuberance of the music and the joy it brought millions--my brother and I included--was evident in Yesterday.  An odd way to celebrate the country's birthday, but it was a lovely walk down memory lane.  My brother died earlier this year, after a long battle with drugs, alcohol and mental illness.  I was saddened remembering his life, but I was grateful:  his love of the Beatles drove me to love music as well.  His legacy shone out of that movie.

Perhaps this is what growing old is:  remembering the beauty in the ashes, and celebrating those moments when the world was less wearisome.

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