In the early morning of Tuesday, December 9, 1980, I awoke at 6:00 a.m. when my clock radio alarm went off. I lay in my bed for a few minutes more listening to the music, not really in a hurry to get up and get ready for school that cold, dark morning. After the song finished playing, Pete Clark, the deejay of the local rock radio station said, “Good morning. I’m sorry you have to wake up this way this morning.” He paused and then continued saying that John Lennon was shot and killed the night before. After that I didn’t hear anything.
I was numb with shock and then disbelief. Either way I was jolted out of bed, cold notwithstanding, and got ready for school. Nearly everyone in my senior class was stunned. It was pretty hard to accept. For most of us it was our first experience losing someone we knew, whether it was a celebrity, friend or family member. Personally, I didn’t know how to process this. No one ever really explained death or dying to me.
The first few days after John Lennon was murdered, rock radio stations in the New York area (and I’m pretty certain everywhere) played Beatles and Lennon’s songs and interviews; newspapers ran special editions; Beatle and John Lennon memorabilia were being sold in stores. (The internet was about ten years away.) Meanwhile, he and his wife, Yoko had been working on their new album together, “Double Fantasy” at the time of his death – his first album in five years. Ironically, it’s first single was titled, “Starting Over”.
What I recalled about John Lennon at that time was his music, his social activism (the bed-in), and to some extent his religious or rather spiritual beliefs. I did not realize until many years after his death the depth of his spirituality. He believed in re-incarnation, that God is a source and his spiritual and social beliefs were reflected in his songs. I wonder what he would say about the state of the world today.
In the book, “The Cynical Idealist: A Spiritual Biography of John Lennon” by Gary Tillery (2009, Quest books), Tillery writes that soon after writing “Nowhere Man” in 1966, John “would be down on his knees in a locked bathroom begging God for a sign.” Elizabeth Gilbert also got down on her knees in her bathroom and begged for God’s help, as she wrote in “Eat, Pray, Love”. I can relate to this and I’ll bet a lot of us can. When I’ve desperately needed an answer from God or the angels, that’s where I go. Why is that? I believe it’s because it’s the most private and therefore safest room in the house to communicate with God.
John Lennon would have been 75 years old this year; incredibly 35 years since he passed, 2 months after his 40th birthday.
“We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.” ~ John Lennon