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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Never Neverland

Michael Jackson died today.

People tend to have strong reactions about him.

In my observation, that has been true from his very childhood.

He's like an undead Elvis, only so because he didn't die when stardom would have recommended, but continued to live in infamy far past his prime, pushing the envelope.

I'll admit it; I AM saddened by his death, maybe because it seems that the polarization caused by his fame means that people are too busy analyzing him to be bothered with prayer for him.

When I was a child, maybe fourth or fifth grade, I, and most of my friends, had a HUGE crush on Michael Jackson. Some friends of mine created their own dance to "Thriller". We screamed for him, we wanted to be like him. We wanted to know him. We wanted to wear black leather pants with white socks and one glove. And a red vinyl jacket.

Then I moved to Minnesota, and in this particular state, the buzzword was "Gay". I'd never heard that word outside of the context of "happy" and mind you, I was only 10 at the time. But as far as my new classmtes were concerned, Michael Jackson was "Gay" as was anything of which they did not collectively approve.

On my own, I went on being a fan, and my Dad gave me, that Christmas, a cassette tape of the Jackson Five. That same Christmas, I got "Thriller".

It was with disappointment and disillusionment that I witnessed Jackson's descent through plastic surgery, charges of pedophilia, various new albums, and near obscurity. His name remained big even as his persona degenerated into the realm of pure stock media villification.

For years, now, I've been a disillusioned fan of Jackson. I remember when he set his hair on fire during a Pepsi commercial, and even as I laughed, I was struck to my core at the viscious attack at something that could have happened to anyone.

I don't know what happened to him. I remember how I always thought he was so tough, I remember the "crush" I had on him, and the disappointment over the years when he didn't measure up to what I thought he was. The pedestal he'd been on simply was gone.

But I've grown up, of course, and Jackson did, too.

But did he really? As I watch tonight's "memorial" on Nightline, I can't avoid seeing the contrast between the man I "fell in love with"as a child, and the strange imitation of zombihood he became as he matured.

On Nightline, his childlike perceptions stood out starkly; his expensive purchases made becuase he could.

Michael Jackson is a tragic figure if only so because he was never allowed to be a child, and as such, he was never allowed to grow up. He never grew into the man he was supposed to become. I won't get into theories on that, but it seems clear that he was always searching for something that was snatched from him long ago.

I'm surprised that his death affects me, but it does, for in a way, I grew up with him....and then he became something unrecognizable.

May God bless and keep him. My prayers go out to his family, and I pray he is finally granted the peace he was never allowed to experience or even truly seek during his pilgrimage on earth.

Michael Jackson...may the peace of Christ be with you.

May you never find Neverland, but rather, may you find Eternity.


eomma said...

Very well said. Thank you for putting into words some of those thoughts that most of us couldn't.

LarryD said...

Well written, as usual, Adoro.

I know I don't comment here much, but I enjoy your blog a lot - it makes me stop and think - so I've given you an award over at AoftheA. hope you like it!

Kevin said...

I don't mean to sound too harsh or uncaring. Like you, I pray for his children who have lost their father and I pray for his peace.

But a tragic life is the life of a child in a third world country without adequate food, water, hygiene and simple medical care.

Michael Jackson had free will. He chose his life.

Adoro said...

Kevin ~ He didn't have so much free will as a child, and that's were the tragedy occurred, and how it continued.

It's not fair to always make comparisons "oh, 3rd world is tragedy." We can't compare suffering and tragedy one to another. Each is a tragedy in its own way.

Your suffering and my suffering differ, too, and we can't compare ourselves to each other, can we? It wouldn't be fair.

I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

ck said...

You put my thoughts to words as always. Every little girl had a crush on Michael.

Last night my sisters and nieces were calling each other in shock. We were all surprized at our sadness about it. My sister even asked me, in all seriousness, "He COULD make it to heaven, right?" I said a prayer for him right away when I heard the news.

Peggy said...


I agree with you. While we are all accountable for our actions as Kevin said, and what I'm about to say doesn't diminish his accountability, I am convinced that something maybe several events from his childhood hold the key to his behavior in later years. I've felt this way for years, and wholeheartedly share your view that his was a very tragic existance -- for his children as well as the children he surrounded himself with, for his family and for himself. Yes, he needs our prayers as does everyone in this "vale of tears."

Terry Nelson said...

I understand what you were getting at. Nice post.

Owen said...

I illustrated my comment here: