Truth be told, I don’t feel like writing a blog this morning. I just feel like watching Katy Perry and an 11 year old autistic girl named Jodi DiPiazza perform Perry’s song, “Fireworks,” over and over. Having watched it about eight times now—and forced everyone who has been near my Iphone or computer to do the same these past couple of days—I still get weepy each time and feel as if I’ve seen a glimpse of The Holy. (And yes, thanks for asking, I did donate money, too.)
The people I’ve forced to watch it include my own Very Sophisticated Sixteen-Year-Old, who, when instructed, “Come and watch this and cry with me!” sneered when I put it on: “Katy Perry? Seriously, you think Katy Perry could make me cry?” –having listened to Katy Perry Years Ago and all!—but then pleaded ‘something in my eye’ midway through the video. I was glad, because I had posted the link on my facebook page with the words, “Call 911 if this doesn’t make you cry. Your heart is not beating anymore.” Whew. #Notatotalfailureasamother.
I love knowing that all over the country, people of every political persuasion are weeping to this video. I think watching it helps us to remember why we’re on the planet, and who we are as a people, and that it’s not about dueling ideologies. It’s about helping each other ‘ignite the light and let it shine’—helping each other to flourish, to shine brightly as fireworks, no matter who we are.
“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind?” Jodi sings to us, and those of us who did not learn the lyrics Years Ago are knocked over by the message and the messenger and how completely they merge. The crowd roars delight, and we see this amazing, brave, child receive the cheers completely in her body and take a deeper breath from the transmission.
“Boom, Boom, Boom, Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon” we watch Katy singing to Jodi, describing the beauty right before her eyes, love pouring off of her whole body right into that child, overflowing, and pouring into us as well.
And, how much do we need that message ourselves right now? Dealing with her autism, Jodi and her family have clearly overcome obstacles most of us can only imagine. But which of us hasn’t felt “like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?”
How much does this country need to believe, as we wade through the rubble of what’s left of our common life together, “If you only knew what the future holds/ after a hurricane comes a rainbow”?
This song’s power has been making me think that we’ve got the communications thing all screwed up. It is with humility as a preacher/ writer that I say music is exponentially more powerful than words. No spoken message could have millions of us watching this video over and over, drinking in its energy as if we have been wandering in the desert for too long and stumbled onto an oasis.
Just thinking: Maybe instead of, or in addition to, political ‘debates,’ which are increasingly less about policy and more about posturing anyway, we should have “sing offs” before the elections. Let artists and musicians sing out their dreams of who we could be, and let the people decide which candidate is more likely to take us there.
But for now, we have Katy and Jodi to help us remember. And I’m grateful for that! (Want to watch with me now?)