We Are The Children

In my first post of this blog, “We Are The World,” shortly after New Year’s Day, I had been searching for inspiration that gave voice to an unexpressed hunger – lost beneath the everydayness of life’s basic needs, lost beneath concerns about divisiveness amid the new political era and incoming president, as well as the world’s crises and wars overseas.

It’s a hunger for  true love and healing.

Where is a connection to something greater than just ourselves in the here and now, that expands around the world and deeply into our collective history?

In the depths of the dark night, comes the words from “We are the World,” words that struck me when I awoke, as they had never done before, even when I had first heard them more than 30 years ago:

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There is a choice we’re making
Were saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Send them your heart
So they’ll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There is a choice we’re making
Were saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize oh! That a change can only come
When we stand together as one

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Ohh let me hear you!
(Repeat till fade)

Released in 1985, written by musicians Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, it is still strikingly poignant, even altruistic, a stark contrast to the attitudes in today’s political climate. Americans sadly seem polarized more than ever over our economic priorities. I fear stagnation, surveillance, repression, a recurrence of civil war – or worse, world wars.

We Are The Children … afraid of becoming just another refugee … or worse in endless cycle of violence since the beginning of our humanity. Unchecked, the cycle can be seemingly infinite.

As a survivor of child sex abuse, the “inner child” in me has been extremely sensitive to the fragmentation and disconnection world at large, knowing now the importance of fulfilling our human developmental issues at a young age in positive ways, and how those unresolved issues can recur from generation to generation.

At the time “We Are The World” was produced, the idea and effort that  celebrities and musicians could come together around the horrific famine  occurring in Ethiopia – part of the Great Rift Valley, what paleoanthropologists call the lands of our human origins – was truly a remarkable and uplifting experience.

“We are the World” raised over $63 million (about $138 million today) worldwide, and inspired a Hands Across America event the following year to raise money for local charities involved with hunger and homelessness in the U.S. The creation of USA Africa, charity which still continues today.

Looking back on that song, I’m now realizing it marked the beginning of my political awareness and deep questioning about the world. One of my first published news stories as a journalism student – as I attempted to make a career change out of computer programming – was on this topic. I had even co-organized a Hand Across America event in the town I lived in.

I had no idea it would still hold such significance to me today. I now see that it actually holds the theme for my life’s deepest question, that had long gone unanswered.

How could there be so much hunger and famine in a world that seems to be so technologically advanced?

Ethiopia was wracked by civil war at that time, as well.

But one thing I am certain of  is: Even in an age when there was no Internet, no cell phones, and no social media, “We are the World” was just one example of how our collective humanity has progressed – and with the power of collective social awareness and consciousness – much can be achieved.

We now have the technology our collective ancestors have never had but always longed for, fought for, sacrificed for, so that we, their descendants could live lives fulfilling our basic needs, with peace and security and time to spend with our loved ones.

Is that not what life is for and what every healthy human being has ever sought and now seeks since the beginning of time? Is that not the deepest hunger we yearn for most?

We now live in a technologically interconnected world where information and resources can be shared instantly (or at least “overnighted”) to avert misunderstandings and man-made catastrophes anywhere in the world. But yet, there are those who still act as if we are in the primitive stages of our existence – isolated and still asleep about the true state of the world.

We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize oh! That a change can only come
When we stand together as one

There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

I hope you will join me in my quest for healing our global family.

I would love to hear of your quest, as well.

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