One of my favorite movies is the emotionally charged “Walk The Line.” It is the story of the country singer Johnny Cash. In an early scene, a young Cash is brought to the bedside of his dying brother. His main confidante, ally and friend in a family filled with the darkness of a father addicted and volatile, is leaving him.
As the adults stand around the bedside, doing nothing, resigned to the fate of his brother, Johnny begs “Do something.” His voice breaking and resounding with a mix of rawness, desperation and command.
It gets me every time. No matter how many times I have seen it the haunting and imploring echoes of his pleas reverberate in my bones filling me with a kind of desperation, despair and yes, a command that derives from someplace deep.
“Do Something.” And its corollary, “Isn’t someone going to do something?” This has been my inner begging, pleading, beseeching prayer my whole life. Sometimes it has taken the form of a child-like need unmet. At other times it has taken the form of the rebel fed up with the injustices of the world. And at other times, it has taken the form of the disappointed and frustrated adult who judges or blames.
Now it is taking a new form. Empowerment. A kind of knowing that when we look out at the world and cry out, “This is not right. Someone needs to do something,” we must come to the realization that the someone is none other than us. As in, I am that someone. It is up to me. I am the one to do something.
Now, this does not mean that we take it all on ourselves trading our power for martyrdom. Instead, it is a deep knowing that whatever I see when I look out there that needs tending to, that needs correcting, that needs starting or stopping, is not someone else’s to do. But instead, mine.
Look out into the world. What cries out within you “Do Something?” And instead of turning away, what would happen if you sought the counsel of that desperate and commanding plea?