Thoughts on Michael Jackson and His Death

Photo by Sony BMG
It has been pretty incredible to see all the tribute and remembrance to a man that was known as, “The King of Pop.” In the last few days, you cannot turn a channel without seeing something on Michael Jackson and the impact he has made on the music industry. He was simply a music icon.

It has been a trip down memory lane for me, as I have been watching some of the specials on Michael Jackson. What can I say but I was a Michael Jackson fan. Growing up in the 1980’s, Jackson made such a huge splash in our generation. He introduced us to the “moonwalk” and the concept of “popping” in dance. Jackson set the bar when it came to music videos, concerts, record albums, and yes, even fashion. What was up with that white glove?

Now that the shock of his death is slowing receding, people are now looking more closely to his life – the music legacy, the financial issues, and his “apparent” drug addiction. There are even comparisons with the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley and his untimely departure.

Here are some of my random personal thoughts:

1) We will never know the legacy we have left on this earth until we pass away. I don’t know why but somehow this is frustrating for me. Since I am so goal-oriented, I want o see the impact that I am making on people’s lives while I am still alive. But the reality is that there are many people who passed away thinking that they were failures or did not make much of a difference. It has been amazing to see all the various people in all walks of life honor and giving tribute to MJ. I am sure if he was alive today he would not have believed the response from all the people.

2) We should live everyday as if it is our last. Even though the lost of anyone is heart breaking, sometimes losing someone tragically is harder. Usually it takes some time to get over the shock. Who would have ever thought that MJ would have passed away at the age of 50 years old? For some reason that seems so young (I guess my perspective changed since I just turned 40). What would I do differently (now) if I knew that I was going to pass away at 50 years old? Would I have any regrets? Would I re-orient my life and priorities to things that matter the most? Since we are not the author of life and death, we have to live everyday as if it was our last… this will definitely give us some purpose and hopefully fuel some passion in our lives.

3) The full measure of a person is perceived from the whole and not in parts. History is a funny thing. As more time passes by, the perceptions of people towards another person begin to change. One good case in point is Abraham Lincoln. It is incredible to read up on all the negative things that were written and said about Lincoln as a person and as a president. But now, when we look into history books, Lincoln is usually spoken of in high regard. Every person has flaws and they will be criticized for something, but when they pass away and as time passes, people start seeing the overall influence and impact made by the person. The weaknesses and flaws are just reminders that they were human. But the difference they made will last. This is a reminder for us that God can always use anybody… and that God receives more glory when the person or the instrument being used is more flawed and weak.

4) People who really care about you will always tell you the hard truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. Now talk is swirling around some of the people that MJ surrounded himself with in the latter portion of his life. Whether the these people were only looking out for their own interest or they had other agendas, it is now surfacing that there were people who might have done some illegal things to enable MJ to live a certain lifestyle. I am just curious if any of them really had MJ’s best interest in mind. Did anyone say anything about the prescription drug use? For some reason, people who are very prolific always find it hard to have good friends. Most of them are lonely and if they do have people around them, they are usually not the kind of friends you want for the long haul.

5) It is always easier to judge and criticize a person than to empathize with them. I have been a bit bothered by some of the commentators on some of these shows. They can give some of their opinions and thoughts about MJ’s lifestyle and things but the truth of the matter is that there is really no one that can fully understand what he went through in his lifetime. Who else but only a small handful of people in this world had to struggle with that kind of fame and pressure ever since a little kid? All the talk about the dysfunctionality of a 12 year old boy being trapped up in a 50 year old body breaks my heart. Who can fully understand what he had to deal with? It is so easy for people and especially Christians to judge others without really walking in other people’s shoes. This is in no way condoning some of the illegal activity or lack of responsibility that MJ has displayed, but it is more of a plea for empathy. Was his pain and loneliness so great that he had to turn to prescription drugs? Who was reaching out to him? Would things have been different if Christ was part of the equation?

Out of all the awesome songs by Michael Jackson, this is one of the top 10 songs. This version with the Gospel Choir brought it to another level.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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