It’s like, at the end, there’s this surprise quiz: am I proud of me? I gave my life to become the person I am right now! Was it worth what I paid?
Are you a Beatles fan? I have been from the early 60s. As a musician it was a profound experience to witness their rise to heights few musicians ever achieve—and I remember well the day in the 70s when I heard that the Beatles were disbanding; like countless other fans around the world, I was devastated. The impact they had on so many millions of lives is immeasurable; including my own—the Beatles really mattered to my generation. What was that “X-factor” that hooked our hearts so deeply? Was it their exquisite timing—arriving on the “scene” just as a shift in the western culture was beginning to happen? Perhaps it was their raw talent and the rare combination of unique creative personalities who intuitively knew how to shape-shift and reinvent themselves numerous times. The immensity of their song library is a testament to their longevity and popularity. It was difficult to witness it all come to an end—which they documented so beautifully with a simple song. It is said “The End” was the last song the Beatles recorded together as a group—and the last song Lennon and McCartney ever coauthored as a writing team. It is probably one of the shortest songs ever penned but also one of the most profound. The entire lyric is only twenty-eight words, of which the last fifteen are “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
That’s it! What a statement about cause and effect— and, what an exquisite way for a creative force known as the Beatles to dissolve into the ethers forever, while at the same time, having that for which they stood to continue to reverberate from one generation to the next and to the next. “The End” isn’t a love song, it’s a song about love. A song about understanding that at the end of the day, our lives matter because they are a composition of the minutes, days, and years that we exchange for the privilege of living in human skin—and love is the medium by which we measure a life worth living.
The “group,” the Beatles, technically died at the end of that recording session but their music lives on in you and me. I believe that is because they truly loved what they did and that love found its way into our hearts. They brought the best of themselves together to co-create something none of them could have created alone. However, they also knew when it was time to go their separate ways because their co-creative energy was spent; they knew they were not giving the group, the Beatles, the “best” of themselves any longer.
Because they loved what they created when they were together, they held nothing back, and I think that is the message of this song (and the essence of all my books and other writings). Love what you do; love what you make of your life—hold nothing back—and life will love you in return. I invite you to just sit with this thought for a moment and see where it lands in your mind and heart. Do you love the life you have created and are you aware of what a precious gift it is? This is the question worth pondering as our journey as fellow human beings continue to unfold even far beyond the devastating pandemic from which we are slowly emerging.
The takeaway is simple:
In the end, when you leave this planet, will there be a surplus or a deficit of love left in the wake of your life? Love who you are and love what you do with who you are, and the answer to that question will be self-evident. “All you need is love” isn’t just another Beatles’ song title—it’s the calling of a lifetime.
Never forget, you matter.