In a world of urgent needs, I asked myself, could I justify presenting pretty music on the radio for a living? Wasn't there something more pressing I should be doing with my time on this planet? Fighting injustice? Saving polar bears? Curing diseases? Sure, music is good for the soul, but a pesky voice in the back of my mind kept demanding: Is soul food good enough?
So I asked some public-radio-listening friends for perspective. And here’s what they said.
But food for the soul IS an urgent need!
Look, clearly there are a lot of urgent needs out there, but what is the good of saving a life or a planet that lacks beauty. You disseminate beauty, which gives other people the rejuvenation they need to fight the good fight. Which is an essential part of the puzzle.
Never mind all the people who listen while they work; think of all the bedridden people who depend on you for getting through the day.
Respite from the ‘needs.’ Bringing beauty into our homes so that we don’t forget our humanity. Similar to the artist—necessary for why we live, not just that we do.
You are a doctor who dispenses different medicines. You share stories. You make people feel better. You calm people down. You pep them up. You make them laugh. It seems like a small thing to be doing sometimes, but to the person you’re helping, it’s huge. You can make a day. You can inject a little art and beauty into the bloodstream of a person who has momentarily forgotten how incredible life can be. How amazing we all are.
You are promoting—indeed, allowing access to—a plane of existence that isn’t about commodities and isn’t about power. Even if people only spend a short time on that plane each day, I think it makes a tremendous difference to our ability to behave like human beings.
You can’t really know how much good you are doing. Your efforts are out in the open, but they are enjoyed privately. But that most emphatically is not the same thing as not doing good, or not doing enough good.
Music is one of the things that make life worth living, and that keep people truly alive.
Your work helps keep people sane. In that way you are supporting every career and making the world a better place. As someone who works with less than sane all the time, sanity is vital and urgent. Keep doing your thing.
Well, that all recharged my batteries in a hurry.
I returned to work inspired and determined to make the very best of my time on the air so you can make the very best of your day. Please be in touch anytime to let me know how I'm doing. And please keep listening, and staying sane, and remembering how incredible life can be. It’s an honor to be part of the puzzle with you.