There was a man banging a drum and singing soul songs standing on the subway platform — a busker. This is the day after all the children were gunned down in Connecticut, and I was on my way to do some Christmas shopping, something that often feels like a chore, but on this day, felt like an honor due to the fact that I couldn’t stop thinking about the parents who every year, from now on, will wish they can buy one more toy, a playstation, ugly clothes, a first used car, for their kids. And what about the bike hiding in the garage bought for this year’s holiday?
“Shake a hand, shake a hand,” the drummer sang, banging loud, the thump echoing all around, as people dropped dollar bills into his bucket, nodding and bopping.
After he finished Donny Hathaway’s Christmas song, he began to speak.
“You know, in these times, I don’t care what God you believe in, I don’t even care if you believe that God is yourself, y’all better pray. Just pray. Thing is, everybody say they want the world to change, but don’t nobody every ask no questions. Don’t nobody ever say ‘Hey God, or whoever, what the hell is going on? We need some help down here. Can we just have some peace. That’s all — some peace!'”
He looked around at the people working way too hard to ignore him, (people like music but they don’t like lectures) though nobody was really ignoring him. People were pretending to, but everyone could hear him. He was as loud as the drum.
“Don’t matter what God you believe in. Just ask him, whoever or whatever he is, if we can get some peace,” he continued, “and if you think that you are God, that he’s in you, then you should really be asking yourself, ‘Can we get some peace?’ and hopefully you will say to yourself, ‘yes, yes we can.'”
I don’t necessarily believe that people aren’t asking. As a matter of fact I think these days everyone is asking. Everyone is questioning and doubting and working harder to maintain faith while staring into the fractured face of our world. But what I do believe, is the notion that we all have to ask that God within, “Can we have peace?” in hopes that we all individually reply to ourselves, “Yes, we can.”