Most of the time, I think a lot of us assume there is nothing we can do to make a difference for the better. It’s all too easy to listen to that inner voice saying, “Who am I? I don’t know what the best course of action is through this maelström. I don’t even know where to start.” And so, by default we do nothing. But if we all listened to that accusing, negative voice, some of the greatest inventions never would have happened. Even worse, some of the most tyrannical governments in world’s history would have continued unfettered. There would have been no cures for some of history’s worst epidemics unless someone(s) had chosen to light up the darkness.
That is the premise of a truly great vampire movie, I Am Legend, starring Will Smith. The set up goes like this: A doctor, in an effort to find a cure for cancer, genetically alters a virus. In her mind, she took a killing machine and put a cop behind the wheel of it. What she unwittingly introduces, however, is a virus that turns ordinary people into vampires. The virus spreads through aerial as well as direct contact and wipes out most of the world’s population.
One man remains in New York, living among the walking dead, Dr. Neville, a prominent virologist, immune to the virus. The movie is his story of the very lonely trek to find a cure during years of complete isolation from any other human. After years of clinical trials he’s conducted in this setting, as well as his daily broadcast, appealing to any human left out in the world abroad, he receives an answer from a woman and her son. He brings them into his home and lab, offering them shelter and survival.
One day, he talks to the woman about singer/songwriter, Bob Marley. He says, “He had this idea. It was kind of a virologist idea. He believed that you could cure racism and hate…literally cure it by injecting music and love into people’s lives. When he was scheduled to perform at a peace rally, a gunman came to his house and shot him down. Two days later, he walked out on that stage and sang. When they asked him why, he said, ‘The people who are trying to make this world worse…are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.’” It’s at this point that we, the viewers, understand that it’s this story of Marley that becomes Neville’s inspiration to press on while isolated, possessing the knowledge, the expertise…and the unending monotony of time, to find the cure.
Easy street is doing nothing, listening to the inner voices that say our efforts will amount to nothing. Stay on easy street, and you WILL change this world—for the worse. Or choose to be a change agent, one small deed at a time, and make this world a better place. Our culture tends to think that only those who are most influential can make a difference, but it’s simply not true. Think of how quiet a walk in the woods would be if only the birds who thought they had the very best voices chose to sing?
So sing your song. Stay strong. Stand tall in defense of what is right, good, kind, and loving. Never give up, never lose hope. Do what you can, with what you have, for as long as you are able to be a source for good. Light up the darkness. Give love, live loved. Have a great and meaningful weekend.