I went to see a friend one night because he seemed like he needed a friendly face to say hello to. So I went, shared a quick meal, exchanged a few kind words and sat down to watch a few songs from a band I knew. One of the songs was a cover of Eric Clapton’s “Change The World.”
Something about that song always spoke to me. I first heard it in the end credits of “Phenomenon.” In the movie, John Travolta plays a small town guy who gets a boost of brain power because of a tumor in the brain. He suddenly has photographic memory and can move objects with his mind. He shows the town what he can do with the hopes of inspiring people. Mostly he is met with fear and misunderstanding. The tumor eventually takes his life. In the short time that he had, he tried to change the world — or at least the small little town he grew up in. In the last scene, it’s a year after his passing and his friends come together to celebrate his life — to them at the very least, their lives were changed by the way he lived his life. In the last shot, the camera pans from the friends to his picture on the bar and the song starts playing.
The song reminds me of that movie and that idea of doing something larger than yourself with the little time that you have. And whenever I hear that part of that song (just that part that goes “If I could change the world”) it speaks to me. It resonates with one of the strong themes in my life: to make a difference and change the world for the better.
And where did I get that theme? It happened for me when I was 18 years old. I sat looking outside my window as the sun went down one Sunday afternoon. And this is how the conversation in my head went:
And what will you do with your life? As in really want to do?
I guess I’d like to change the world.
How does that happen?
I guess it’s people who make decisions and make things happen. So it has to be about people. Decisions are internal. Y’know stuff about values and stuff that happens on the inside. If they change on the inside, automatically the world will change on the outside.
And who does that kind of work?
Teachers, maybe artists, priests for sure — those that affect what happens on the inside of people and talks about values and stuff like that.
Siguro naman God won’t ask me to be a priest. That would be unthinkable. He wouldn’t ask something that large of me. Change the world stuff? Not me right? Or could He? Uh oh.
What can I tell you? (Actually at this point, I can tell you my life story. But maybe we’ll save that for the book) For now, I’ll just say that idealistic even romantic idea is more true to me today than it was in years past. I”m lucky that there are opportunities to do it everyday from conversations to FB messages, from stories produced to blog posts written, from time in the class room to time in cafes and even bars that have friends who sing with their bands once a week.
So here’s that song from that night. Maybe like me, it’ll speak to you. Or even ask of you that question, “If you could, how would you change the world?”
If I could change the world, I would. And I would do it from the inside out… one person at a time.