Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Man in Black" - Johnny Cash

Proper way to put on gloves
At the end of a long day of work the last thing I usually feel like doing is.. well anything. This Tuesday I was particularly exhausted and would have loved nothing more than to stay home and veg.  My daydreams of lying around in my trashy underwear watching even trashier TV were short-lived, because I knew I had a date.  A long standing one actually, every Tuesday for the past two and a half years.  I volunteer at our local humane society - in the back area doing animal care related tasks. As I pulled on my scrubs, Crocs (yes-guilty) and snapped my latex gloves (like I imagine some sort of sexy nurse would) I found myself wondering, "Why do I volunteer?"

These are a few of my favorite things
Usually I manage to desensitize myself to the realities of the shelter, in the same way I imagine that paramedics desensitize themselves to all of the horrible, tragic things they see at their job. Tonight was different, maybe because I was tired, maybe because I'm a girl, but tonight there was a small crack in the wall that I had put up.  As I did the finals for the cats (I like to think of it as tucking them in for the night), I found myself tearing up a bit.  I was surrounded by animals that are entirely dependent on the kindness of people.  Newborn kittens, beat-up alley cats, all looking for one thing - to be taken care of.  I stopped to really think about what I was doing. I took time to calm down the hissing,terrified stray, and wipe the dirt from the faces of the abandoned, orphan kittens. As corny as it sounds, I knew that even if only for a few moments, I had improved the quality of life of that animal. I know that their time at the shelter is limited, and my simple act of kindness could very well be the last for them.
So while the song "Angel" by Sarah Mclachlan played in my head and I looked down the endless rows of helpless animals,  my answer came to me quite simply. I volunteer because they need me.  You volunteer because someone needs you, whether it be animals, people or kids. It`s true that you can`t be everything to everyone, but sometimes we forget that we can all be something to someone.

You`ve all likely heard "Man In Black" by Johnny Cash, but I`d be willing to bet that most of you don`t know the meaning behind it.  Following his increasing popularity in the 1970`s, people began to question Cash`s consistent wardrobe of all black,dubbing him "The Man in Black".  In 1971 Cash responded to the public's curiosity about his dark outfits by penning the song "Man In Black".  Cash sang:
"We're all doing might fine I do suppose, In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes"
"But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back, Up front there ought to be a man in black"
The "Man in Black"
He wore black not just for one cause, but for all of the causes.  For the "poor" and "hungry", or "those who have been betrayed by age or drugs."  Cash admits that he knows there are "things that never will be right" but pledges that "til things are brighter, I'm the Man in Black." I agree with Cash that nothing will every be perfect, but there is definitely things we can each do to make things "brighter", and volunteering is one of those things.

If you would like to donate/adopt an an animal please visit The Winnipeg Humane Society website

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

No comments:

Post a Comment