I was listening to the blues singer, Taj Mahal on National Public Radio recently, when he said something that caught my attention. There were others on this program at the time discussing the Blues. I must admit, my attention wasn’t very focused, so I didn’t catch the names of the others. The thing that caught my attention was the idea being presented that blues singers aren’t singing the blues to make people feel bad, but to lighten their load. The discussion went onto to present the idea the all who serve in whatever capacity, teachers, garbage collectors, presidents, whomever have a responsibility to lighten the load of those they serve. This program was on the NPR mid-day program three days after the violence in Charlottesville that took the life of Heather Heyer.
As I thought on the concept of blues singers making people feel better, I must admit it sounded a bit oxymoronic at first, but then it occurred to me that there’s a reason we all listen to any type music. That reason, of course, is to feel better in some way or another. Blues, though usually portraying some trying experience in a person’s life, gives the listener an opportunity to reflect on what’s going on in their own lives. That reflecting will normally result in realizing that yours isn’t really that bad. The singer might have lost his woman, his dog and his pick-up truck, which might have just been carried off by the repo man. But the listener might have only experienced one of those losses, maybe their woman, giving them a reason to still count blessings. At least they still have a way to get to work, and what better companionship a man can have than his dog.
This idea of lightening the load of the people we’re responsible for serving is certainly relevant in America today. We have a president and a presidential administration that many are convinced don’t understand this responsibility. Though it’s a challenge for me to be fair to the current presidential administration, I must admit there are those who feel that way about every presidential administration. However, the noise in the streets is much louder today than it’s been in a long time. At my ripe age, I can recall the demonstrations of the sixties and seventies, when people felt strongly that the only way to get anyone to listen to their concerns was to take their case to the streets. Unfortunately, when some take to the streets with good intentions, there ae others who show up with less than honorable intentions in mind.
The last few days, the people of Southeast Texas have been dealing with a natural disaster of the kind none would wish on even their worst enemy. Situations like this provide an opportunity for our leaders to provide hope and comfort, in other words to make us feel better, if not good. I’m watching the news reports as things unfold in Texas, time will tell if our leaders have been any good at making the people feel good. The people are certainly experiencing the blues in major proportions. Life is full of blues-producing incidents. What can each of do to make others feel good?
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.