Mirror Mirror - 2020


Praying for Time

By Jennifer Allen

2020 has been a year relentless with report after report of violence and COVID lockdowns. Then, here in America, there was the most recent Presidential Election, which, no matter what side of the playing field you're on, was stressful in the months leading up to the election. It's even been particularly tumultuous following the election with various bits of finger pointing, denials, and all other traces of disorder that flood our news and social media pages on a daily basis.

Let's not forget all the other chunks of news from this year: Wildfires in both Australia and California, the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, Sushant Singh Rajput, Eddie Van Halen, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Chadwick Boseman, Alex Trebek, and Sean Connery among others, tensions with Iran, murder hornets, Brexit, Tiger King, George Floyd, Meghan and Harry saying adios to the British royals, Black Lives Matter protests, discovering that black holes might actually be real… and oh yes a little South Korean film called Parasite won best picture at the Oscars.

I was recently thumbing through my personal music library and came across a CD (yes I still have those) that I've all but worn out from playing over and over in the 90's. George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 is still one of my favorite albums of all time. Originally released in the summer of 1990, it was a reflection of Michael's views of the world at that particular time. With a title exclaiming that it was the first volume of a potential set, it's a bit of a shame that he never did get to produce another volume before his untimely death in 2016. Maybe he was waiting for 2020 to produce it? Who knows?

For a person of Greek descent, who was only 27 at the time, the album is full of absolutely breathtaking tracks that are as timeless now as they were 30 years ago. The song, “Praying for Time" in particular really hits home with lyrics that speak of a world in turmoil:

The rich declare themselves poor
And most of us are not sure
If we have too much
But we'll take our chances
'Cause God's stopped keeping score

There are only a handful of performers to this day who have earned the right to be called legendary. I think George Michael was one such performer. His music is clever, beautiful, and open. He told us stories of his own life through song, which in turn could be molded and shaped to fit our own life stories like a comfortable glove.

It's actually quite intriguing that the man was so transparent with his music and yet so private at the exact same time. “Praying for Time" in particular is so dark and sorrowful for the time it was written. Speaking to the New York Times in 1990, Michael said this:

“No event inspired the song. It's my way of trying to figure out why it's so hard for people to be good to each other. I believe the problem is conditional as opposed to being something inherent in mankind.

“The media has affected everybody's consciousness much more than most people will admit. Because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out. We're taught that you have to grab what you can before it's gone. It's almost as if there isn't time for compassion."

Remember this was in a world before we had global access to the World Wide Web, let alone various bits of social media saturating our handheld electronic devices with a plethora of “he said, she said" articles, memes, and other such white noise.

It's actually quite poignant that this 30 year old song is still apt for the world we're living in today. A world where the political climate has changed to the point that we vote for whomever we dislike the least, where humanity as a whole has become so wasteful and selfish, a world bursting at the seams with mass consumerism, the continued rise of fascism, elitism, terrorism, global warming, and now a global pandemic has every single one of us living in a constant state of fear and distrust.

And it's hard to love, there's so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
When there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it's much, much too late
Well, maybe we should all be praying for time

I hope that in 2021 we can brush past a lot of the faults we as a global community obtained in 2020. All we can do at this point is take a breath as we step forth into the New Year. Each tiny droplet can eventually create an ocean of hope as we all should be praying for time.

----------

Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Gamer, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culture Geek.