A Zimbabwean proverb says ‘If you can walk you can dance; if you can talk you can sing’. Here’s an 8 min example of many African song and dance styles, which don’t need you to know their languages. You can guess the messages, including fertility. They certainly prove the proverb! But what to do if you neither walk nor talk? This post is for people suffering with liabilities of any sort.
There are options for people who are suffering. One is to be hopeful, and trusting, which in the end will be the most effective attitude. I’ll return to that later. But if better times don’t come along in this world, we can hope for better times in a world to come. Many scoff and ridicule this. But it’s very real in the lives of the faithful, e.g. Southern Baptists, whose spirituals and other songs always give a lift to their audiences and singers. Paul Robeson proves the movingly beautiful power of song. He was brilliant in many fields beside music. When I was young, he was maligned as a communist by people around the US, including my parents. But he cared for justice, equality, civil rights, and worked to support unions. Some sources claimed to ‘report’ things he said and did, even before he said or did them! But he also thought Socialism might provide for the needy better than corrupted Capitalism. (Sounds familiar? Go Bernie!) During the McCarthy era he was called traitor and psychopath! That’s still a popular label for unpopular people. I find his spirituals uplifting, such as ‘crossing over Jordan to my homeland’, in this 3 min recording.
Being hopeful for me includes the belief that music will be part of life for all people ‘crossing over Jordan’ – i.e., when they get to heaven. Music is an expression of beauty and love. Words aren’t needed to communicate what’s in our hearts for each other and for the maker of beauty. We get the feeling from the tone more than the text. (Texts can give feelings too; think of rappers, like Tupac Shakur, who was killed). With their instruments or vocals, Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, and Dave Brubeck emphasized the feeling of sound. Mother loved all kinds of music except Jazz (which she pronounced ‘Jasss’). She thought it was vulgar and immodest, suggesting sex. She was quite right! “Jazz me Baby, 8 to the Bar”. She came to accept crooners, like Bing Crosby, or ‘Ol Blue Eyes’ Frank Sinatra – the idol of my much older sisters. They held dance parties in our living room to his voice, while I had to sit at the top of the stairs and listen wistfully.
I’ve been talking about the power of music and how it’s received in various communities. My older siblings certainly weren’t poor or needy, but they were trying to find themselves and find mates in a closely limited community. We should think of options for those who want to help the needy. How can I or anyone offer genuine help to others?
Innumerable people around the world are needy in all sorts of ways, including food, clothing, shelter, medicine, infant care, and the horrible effects of seemingly endless war. The numbers are staggering – so large and changing they can only be approximations beyond immagining. Here are a few rough ‘statistics’ on population. The site is paywalled, so I’ll give the key relevant data: World Population 7.5 B; China 1.4 B; India 1.4 B; USA 338 M (Third place). How does the world’s richest nation relate to all the needy around the Globe? Does it use its power and world-wide influence to help others? Or does it (We the People) continue to use that power and influence to grow even more, and further enrich those at the apex of the wealth and power pyramid? You decide.
Helping others can be material, or mental. Materially, there’s always money. Everybody wants it – robbers, scammers, and the truly needy down-and-outers. The very wealthy want more money too, though many of those in the upper classes give to influential charities. I like the charity option. But my own income and savings are limited, and needed by two generations of family and friends, in my town, other states, and abroad. A bigger problem for me is to find what I believe will be truly helpful – not indiscriminate handouts.
I think true Charity means more – much more – than giving money, though admittedly its Latin origin reduces to money – Carus (Expensive/Dear). I believe charity is primarily about bringing Love into the lives of needy people. We’re all used to thinking about material things. But our minds exist on two levels – material and spiritual. If we disregard the deeper, innermost level, we miss where real Love and Happiness exist.
In conclusion, my biggest problem (or task) is how, if at all, I’m able to encourage and help people find for themselves the source of all help. My hope is to share beliefs with other people, and help them find guides much more knowledgeable and beneficial than I can be. The infinitely Loving One above is always doing the best we will allow, whether or not we see it or accept it. Let there be more real Friendship and Love