Finally, To Rest in Peace. . .
–Michael Joseph Jackson
We should all be so lucky not only to have achieved that sort of vision, but if more of us, humans alike carried with them that sort of vision, the world would be an even better place. I do believe however, that sort of vision lies ahead for all of us.
I am not the first person that one might imagine waxing poetic on the night of Michael Jackson‘s death. In fact, in the past I have joked about, derided, and thought and heard heavily critical things of the man. But I found myself really hit by Michael’s passing today. The only other passing that I have similar remembrances of, was that of Jim Henson.
I’ve never idolized the man. Nor have I ever looked at him through rose-colored glasses. I have never believed that he was anything more or less than human. Whether he was responsible for any of the things that he was accused of, I can only say that he, like any of us as fragile humans had the same capacity to fall down. Hard. . . And yes, to hurt others.
These past few years, as the media has fueled the sick fire of fascination in all of us, I came to feel sad for the man. Not pity, because that somehow brings a thought of being somehow above this man. We have all been damaged in this life, and as the coming days will show, there will be both soft and kind thoughts of this man, and there will be hard, angry and hate-filled words that will emerge. The energy from both of those sentiments prove our damaged-nature as individuals and as a collective. It is not our original nature, but to this day we suffer as a result of this damage.
I chose today, led by the sense in my heart, that the right thing to do is to look on him, and the legacy of his art, craft and philanthropy, with a soft heart. Not simply for the promise of cleansing his memory (and ours), but to help begin the healing of everyone’s hearts. For if not now, when? And for whom shall we decide that it’s the right time to start healing our own hearts and memories? Shall we do it for ourselves upon our own passing? It doesn’t take a lot to see the conundrum in that idea.
Like so many ugly and hurtful things in this world, whether it be child molestation actual or alleged, the downing of planes, buildings or a single home, we as humans have come to a place where we react with anger and fury, notions of justice only thinly veiled vengeance. We do know in our hearts how to forgive. How to soften our hearts. Many figures and teachers from different faiths have not taught us, but reminded us of the divinity of forgiveness. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, called for truth and reconciliation after Apartheid; Martin Luther King, Gandhi, believed in forgiveness. Even the often unfairly demonized Malcolm X found softness in his heart toward all after he made his pilgrimage to Mecca. And no differently, each of these figures suffered their own significant human frailties.
Michael through his art called for healing, and cried not simply for himself, but for us all and this planet we live upon. Can we take a moment of peace if not to find softness in our hearts for him, but for ourselves who lost a unique and consummate entertainer?
I hope we can.