You’ve watched the news footage, seen the photos and read the news tweets; you’ve heard the screams and pleas and shook your head at the ludicrous comments by idiots. Whenever a disaster strikes like the one in Haiti, the amount of information and opinion out there can be overwhelming and it’s easy for us to shut down and retreat into a world of meaningless entertainment. It’s just so convenient to switch the channel or click to another website. Yet, a time like this is also when people turn to the arts as a way to deal with the pain and suffering. Music, film, literature and theater help us process the pain and try to understand how something so horrific could happen. As I’ve made clear in this column, I personally use music to help me heal.
At times like these, whether it was in the Malchus basement with Matt, driving around in the Whomobile with Steve, kicking back in Bob’s dorm room, hanging out at Budd and Karyn’s house, or relaxing on the couch with Julie, we would express our deepest fears and come to terms with our feelings. And always, always, there was music to help us, guide us, to shape the moment.
I realize that no one reads this column seeking answers; I’m no great thinker that can provide you with a philosophical or scientific reason why something like this happens. All I can do is express in words what I feel, hoping that perhaps, you may feel the same way, too, and want to do something about those feelings. So here goes:
I feel that this whole situation fucking sucks. I feel that if there’s something you can do, whether it’s to make a donation or provide some other sort of relief you should do your damndest to do it. I feel that we should all take a moment to reflect on the good things in our lives. I feel that you should take an extra minute each day to tell someone you care about how you truly feel because, as we’ve seen in the past couple days, life is fragile.
Hug your wife, your kids, you brothers or sisters, your best friends, your co-workers and the Starbucks dude that always gives you a little extra when you order a tall drip in a grande cup. Drop a line to your favorite teacher who may not have heard from you in years and tell them how they changed your life. Find the courage to pick up the damn phone, swallow your pride and talk to someone important in your life that you had a falling out with because tomorrow they may not be here.
U2’s “One” may seem like an obvious song to pull out when the world is in turmoil. However, the staying power and hope found in this work are exactly what we need. Bono’s words may ring truer now than they did when he wrote them back in 1991:
One love /One blood/One life/You got to do what you should
One life/With each other/Sister/Brother
One life/But we’re not the same/We get to carry each other/Carry each other
As if you didn’t need reminding, please do what you can to help the relief effort for the country of Haiti. There are many ways you can help, the Red Cross being one of them.
Bono wrote that we “get to” carry each other. It’s a privilege to be a part of this great world; a privilege to be a part of the human race. Because of that, we have a responsibility to take carry each other.