I watched the Michael Jackson memorial this morning since I had to work yesterday and missed it. I found it truly moving. No one will know the truth about the controversy in Michael's personal life except the people who were there, but plenty of people feel compelled to express a negative opinion simply in an attempt to lower him to their level, only making themselves look ignorant in the process. I believe he was innocent, but a victim of his kindness and naivety and desire to help others. And he did help others.
One thing I didn't know about him is that he holds a record in the Guinness Book of World Records for most charitable donations. I believe through his music and in his life he cared deeply about humanity and there were times it worked against him. Songs like "We Are the World" and "Man in the Mirror" don't come from self-serving, egotistical maniacs. Those songs come from a deep, compassionate and a caring soul, who I do hope we celebrate as Congress has promised to debate declaring June 25th Michael Jackson day.
Finally, I don't think he meant to kill himself. I think life had become overwhelming to him when charged with child molestation and he never recovered. I remember him saying in an interview after being acquitted that he would leave Neverland, that it was no longer a home for him. I remember the profound sadness in his eyes and voice; and thus he was cast adrift in this world seeking a safe harbor. He seems to have never found that safe place, but felt the financial pressure encircling him and needed to do something. I believe what the nutritionist nurse said that he just wanted to sleep; he was so tired. I understand that kind of exhaustion. Clearly, I've never felt pressure at his level, but I know not being able to sleep and medicating it inappropriately until the world collapses around me and I feel like I can't get up. There were days I didn't want to get up and had wished I was dead. I doubt he was ready to go, but Stevie Wonder was right, God needs him more. I hope in remembering him, we can remember to be kinder to each other and remember we are in this together.
I love Maya Angelou's poem about Michael Jackson (below). She has expressed so well (some parts omitted by me) I believe, what people feel. I do hope we remember him in a positive light. He gave so much, was such a genius, and a true gift from God to us.
Beloveds, now we know that we know nothing, now that our bright and shining star can slip away from our fingertips like a puff of summer wind.
Without notice, our dear love can escape our doting embrace. Sing our songs among the stars and walk our dances across the face of the moon.
In the instant that Michael is gone, we know nothing. No clocks can tell time. No oceans can rush our tides with the abrupt absence of our treasure.
Only when we confess our confusion can we remember that he was a gift to us and we did have him.
He thrived with passion and compassion, humor and style. We had him whether we know who he was or did not know, he was ours and we were his.
But we do know we had him, and we are the world.