Every year I receive those Christmas cards from, I am sure, well meaning people with the long news letter proclaiming how perfect their lives were the previous year, listing in great detail the luxurious vacations, exciting events and all the wonderful accomplishments of each family member. I hate those Christmas cards! They usually contain a typed letter about 2 to 3 pages in length of parental and wifely or husbandly bragging rights. I dread opening these… they only seem to point out how pitiful, woeful and unaccomplished my life seems. I tend to save my bragging rights for resumes to new employers on the latest job hunt. My children are in God’s most capable hands and have survived quite well a childhood and family life that I would not have chosen for them. Each turning out to be the most loving and caring people I know. None have graduated college and yet each of them are beautiful and accomplished in many amazing ways. I have the most precious grand children on earth and am amazed how God has healed my life after surviving not as many marriages and divorces as Liz Taylor but enough to number them as Jerk #1, 2 and 3, each one more disappointing than the previous, each one a lesson in who not to be drawn to and what not to do in life. Rather than long years of school resulting in initialed degrees behind my name, I seemed to have taken the path of surviving the pitfalls of heartache and pain reaped from abuse, drug addiction and alcoholism and the school of hard knocks. We all have our paths God sets us on and for each of us God has a purpose, God’s plan for us. Mine is one of survival, gaining the ability to turn pain into peace, contentment and joy, so I might reach out and help others. So this year when I received the shiny Christmas cards with the long dissertations that I loath from people I only hear from once a year anyway, I have chosen not to read them but file them unread in the “who cares, God bless you anyway” file… the trash can. Over the years I have often wondered what these people think as they address these lists of accomplishments to the single, struggling mothers on their list. Do they even pause to consider how their bragging makes others feel? Most likely not. Seems as though it is the one time of year they are allowed to blow their trumpet to validate themselves to the world. God bless them. Well I have chosen not to allow them to get to me this year. Instead I will hold my head high, count my many, many blessings and thank God for who I am, that person He created me to be and instead choose to feel immensely grateful for the path He has placed my feet upon.
My Christmas wish this year:
I am wishing and praying for PEACE and most of all the JOY of God’s LOVE to fill the hearts of all who read this and everyone I know. Those who believe and those who don't. I am praying for God’s love to permeate the hearts, minds and souls of each person, their lives, their families and all those they love. My gift to each of you this Christmas season is a prayer for God’s LOVE to be the motivating factor in all you do, the primal rudder of your lives this coming year. May your hearts abound in LOVE...L.O.V.E. for all those who come in and out of your lives in 2011. May you see the people who come into your life through God’s loving eyes…see them for all they may become instead the human frailties we all carry and expose to one another daily. May the power of God’s love allow resentments and unforgiveness toward family members, friends, neighbors and acquaintances or even God himself to peel back and fall away like dust in the wind this holiday season, vanished... as we move into this New Year 2011.
This is not my typical blog story of Michaeling but rather a mixture of wishes and prayers and sharing my heart about Michael Jackson's huge caring heart. More of a pouring out of my broken heart, still broken, still unable to comprehend what has happened to me and to this world with the loss of Michael Jackson and why it has affected me so deeply. This is the 2nd Christmas without Michael Jackson on this earth. For many on this earth they go unscathed at the loss of Michael Jackson, yet for millions of us, who have felt the love of Michael Jackson in our hearts at a depth we never anticipated and still don't understand, we have felt immense anger at being deceived and manipulated by the media, we have felt anger and grief over the manipulation and destruction of a sweet, tender hearted man, a kind, caring, giving, genius of a man whose purpose on this earth was to make music and share love. Simply put our lives will never be the same, and still many, many more will slowly begin to open their eyes to who Michael Jackson truly was and to the ugliness of this world and how gossip, bullying, jealousy and greed can destroy others.
On June 25th, 2009 the world, lost Michael Jackson. My life changed that day, “I will forever be counting backwards from June 25, 2009.” Some of my family and friends have not been able to understand why or how Michael Jackson, someone I never met affected me so greatly. I too have pondered many times over the same thing. Yet my life IS different today as I view the world through Michael Jackson's eyes, measuring life against Michael’s love for humanity and his concern and love for this planet, Earth. A walk of LOVE which is unparalleled in modern society. Michael reached out to the hurting in the world with the strong, powerful love of God in his heart. He truly was and still is an incredible example of how to walk in love and giving... as Jesus walked. Yet the human race took Michael Jackson for granted.
Michael suffered greatly as a child, he worked long relentless late night hours in the studio, going to places children should not go and performing one show after another, night after night, seeing things a small child should not ever be exposed to, living a life of violence and fear. He longed for his boyhood and he suffered from great, overwhelming loneliness and shyness. Sometimes we wonder why we experience the things in life we do. What possible purpose would God have to allow such violence against such a beautiful child or any child for that matter? In many cases God turns pain and suffering into empathy and compassion. Clearly Michael's childhood pain is what shaped his feelings of compassion for the hurting children, the sick and needy in the world.
Michael made it clear in his 1993 Grammy acceptance speech when he said, "Today I would like to thank all the children of the world. Including the sick and the deprived. I am so sensitive to your pain." Again in the "Living with Michael Jackson" special, which was a huge betrayal to Michael, he clearly stated, "I'm just very sensitive to their (the children's) pain, the family, the human condition." Michael took his pain and turned it into gold, caring for the sick and needy of the world. He gave of himself to others in mammoth proportions, in ways we everyday humans can only dream of.
Today like everyday since his passing I have thought of Michael throughout the day and am not sure that will ever change nor do I want it to. I have wanted for sometime now to write specifically about Michael's giving but it was so enormous I could not wrap the words around the thoughts in my head... until this month. So here during this season of giving I attempt to share about Michael Jackson's humanitarianism, his passionate, huge heart and world wide charity that encircled the globe and reached to just about every country and definitely every continent on this planet. There is no other human on this planet that has done this and Michael did it all quietly, humbly and without applause. Michael truly, deeply loved ALL children everywhere in the world. ALL children were Michael's heart as he has said several times, "I see the face of God in children."
Brett Ratner, Michael's good and loyal friend, said it so well in an interview when he shared a conversation he had with Michael:
“I know that people looked at Michael and thought he was strange, but to me, he was fascinating. He was the most inspirational person in my life. His one dream was to cure all the sick children in the world. And when I’d say, ‘Isn’t that impossible?’ Michael would just start to cry. He was very emotional.”
"Michael is a generous, honest, and sensitive human being, filled with amazing insight and the capacity for love. If this is weird, I want to go live on another planet." ~ Karen Faye
An uncontrollable 'pftt' and laugh escapes my lips when I think of those who claim to be filling Michael Jackson shoes. Just the very thought that they ‘could’ fill his shoes tells me they have too much arrogance or ignorance to even fill the baby toe in those beautiful, speed of light, God inspired loafers, for Michael Jackson was not just the genius of dance, song and music. His altruistic heart encompassed the globe. Yet Michael encouraged the young to practice hard and maybe one day become as good as he was at his craft. In Germany when he received the Bambi Millennium Award Michael spoke directly to the children of Germany saying, "Please go for your dreams. Whatever your ideals... you can be whatever you want to become. Become an astronaut or famous scientist, famous doctors, and of course become an artist... and maybe you'll get a Bambi award like me." He was in a playful mood that night, his child like spirit bursting forth as he talked and smiled. He was not yet aware there was a jackal in his midst who would betray him and strike the most devastating crippling blow and change his life forever.
Michael Jackson was truly about healing the world with the LOVE of God and his instrument of dance, music and creativity was just the vehicle which enabled him the ability to do his acts of charity, his real work. He was not a perfect human being for that is an oxymoron. Yes he was a “human being” but he strove to show us by example how to LOVE in this evil world.
I have struggled with the thoughts I have had toward Kenny Ortega and questioned over and over again, "Why? Why? Why didn't you protect Michael? Help Michael? He was your friend. He trusted you. Why?" I admit I still hold anger and GREAT disappointment towards Kenny Ortega. Here I work on forgiveness toward this man and others involved in Michael's life...here I ask God to take the lead as he knows every despicable detail of the events which led to Michael's death and every last one of the participants involved. Nothing escapes God. I debated on whether to post this video because Kenny Ortega is the one speaking, but this video talks like no other about the ultimate purpose of why Michael toured and the types of things he did for the sick and hurting that no one ever saw. The slanted media never reported these things in their quest to destroy Michael Jackson and gain ratings. This video truly shares what was most important to Micheal Jackson.
"My dear mother instilled in me very young to give back and as I grew in God I knew what I had to do as a believer in Christ." ~ Michael Jackson
It is a funny thing about death, when we loose someone we love, it seems as humans we tend to grasp on to and recall all that was good about that person, to place them on a pedestal. I did this with both my father and mother. Each had long illnesses at different times and I was blessed to be there for both to care for them, spend time with them, talk, share about our years together, laugh and cry, ask for forgiveness, and express many times over how much I loved and treasured them both, then finally to say our final goodbyes. Yet still I put them on a reverent pedestal when they passed and still do today. Which makes me wonder WHY in so many cases don’t we attempt to do this while people we love and care about are alive? Why don’t we honor those we love in this way while they still walk this earth and we can still get our arms around them and tell them how much we love them or how sorry we are we hurt them? Tell them while looking them in their eyes that no matter what mistakes they may have made we love them. To do so we must make ourselves vulnerable for rejection or ridicule. Yet this is my Christmas wish for each of us. To allow ourselves this freedom, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first, to reach out to those we love and tell them we love them… forgive them… hold them in our arms and convey our hearts. (I need to add here: I am not talking about anyone who is abusive... as I have said I come from an abusive background. Those type people still require forgiveness but from a distance. It is 'your' heart you are healing by forgiving others. You do not need to be in physical contact with someone to forgive them. Stay protected and keep your distance if this is your fate in life as it was mine.)
Christmas for me, since my childhood, has been my most favorite holiday season. All others were just precursors to Christmas, the ultimate holiday, where God’s LOVE and JOY prevailed every year no matter what the circumstances. No matter what event befell my life, everything stopped and the treasured Christmas decorations were dug out of the garage or attic depending on where I lived and we celebrated the birth of Jesus. No matter how meager or what painful experiences I carried it was a time of forgetting, a festive, exciting time. I remember one year as a child proudly giving my dad a new box of nails, his tremendous smile and hearty laugh as he engulfed me in his arms and smothered me in kisses. Oh my Lord, I loved my dad! I remember another penniless Christmas as a new, struggling, sober, alcoholic digging through drawers and discovering long forgotten treasures and wrapping them with love. I chuckle when I remember my ex not feeling as much joy about these gifts as I did. For me it was about the giving of the heart. However, now Christmas has changed for me. It is still and has always has been about the birth of Christ and sharing of ones heart but this year and last I feel so inexplicably different about Christmas since the passing of Michael Jackson. I find it hard to decorate the tree, to put out the family decorations I once took so much joy in digging out of boxes every year. Yes Christmas has definitely changed for me since Michael died. I no longer listen much to Christmas music that used to bring so much joy; it no longer has the jubilant, celebratory feeling for me it used to. Michael still plays non stop on my CD player, computer and in my car. Christmas for me will never be the same without Michael Jackson in this world. It's odd since I never met the man... but then life simply just will never be the same, everything has a different feel and meaning now as I look at life through the filter of Michael Jackson's heart and soul.
As a child Michael did not celebrate Christmas due to his Jehovah's Witness up bringing but as an adult Elizabeth Taylor made sure to show him how it was done and decorated his home for Christmas. It was a Christmas of LOVE and laughter that year as he opened many, many Super Soakers, his favorite water toy, besides water balloons, and as it turned out Christmas was Michael's favorite holiday. He kept Christmas decorations up all year long. Just look at the expression of wonder on his face in this picture as he gazes at his first real Christmas tree.
The tabloids, medialoid, led the world to believe many untruths about Michael Jackson but the real Michael Jackson was the greatest humanitarian the world has ever seen. He walked liked Jesus and practiced practical giving and shared quietly and anonymously God's LOVE. He believed that you gave from your heart because God wants us to take care of others who are hurting and less fortunate. Not to ring your own bell and put on display your altruism to the world like so many celebrities you see. He cared genuinely, deeply cared for the afflicted and hurting.
Michael had the ability to look into the eyes and hearts of the hurting and bring peace, assurance, healing and love into their lives. Michael read the bible daily and many including Michael testified to this fact. Michael knew what life was about and he emulated Jesus in so much of what he did in this world as he stated in an interview:
“Each day I take time out to study the Bible, no matter where I am. The teachings of the Bible have added a new dimension to my life. It, somehow, makes me whole."
In another interview Michael commented onaid, "Until you humble yourself like this child.”
Michael Jackson the King of Pop was humble and grounded in the love of Christ, for me too the cornerstone of my life is Jesus Christ. I am unashamed and more than willing to share this fact. Without Jesus I am nothing and I thank the Lord everyday for the lessons and changes His love has wrought within me through the seemingly bad experiences in my life. I must admit there have been several times in my life I have felt as though I have lived several lifetimes of not so graceful change. The Lord has taught me many things as He has carried me through seemingly devastating times when the light at the end of the tunnel that was in view felt like a locomotive bearing down on me; however no lesson quite like what He has taught me through Michael Jackson. God’s timing is perfect too, for I never would have been ready for this lesson of LOVE if I had not already gone through life’s previous hard experiences.
Since Michael’s death a tapestry of LOVE like the world has never seen before has woven it’s way spontaneously into the hearts of millions, the thread of Michael’s spirit joining the world together in a collective force via the internet, woven in God’s healing LOVE, traveling it’s way around the globe and into the hearts of Michael Jackson fans everywhere. I have met the most amazing people over these last 19 months since Michael physically left this earth. I hold these friendships very dear to my heart, and consider them my greatest gifts this year. I can’t list their names for the list would be far too long. I also look at my children and grand children in a different light. Their smallest accomplishments seem so huge and grand to me. Their giggles and small triumphs in life, the sharing of disappointments and heart ache so much more bonding. I listen differently now with deeper insight. I can not express to you the overwhelming JOY and LOVE that abounds when I am in their presence now. I have changed and continue to change. This life for me since surviving abuse and alcoholism has always been a spiritual process with each new level a new and exciting journey… and now God through Michael Jackson has given me this ultimate gift to see life through different eyes filtered by Michael Jackson’s LOVE and compassion for this world.
There is an inescapable comparison this year I feel compelled to point out between the birth and life of Jesus and life of Michael Jackson. Jesus was born hunted by King Herod because of fear, ignorance and greed. A decree went out and many first born baby boys were murdered when Jesus was born. God hid Jesus in a stable with a manager for a bed, not the place you would think a king might be born. God has a purpose for everything. Michael Jackson came from very lowly beginnings himself in Gary, Indiana and lived a life of abuse and hard work as a child. Michael Jackson is not God, is not Jesus but to me it is truly not a coincidence that his life parallels that of Christ’s in many ways, for it was Jesus that Michael turned to for peace and direction throughout his life. He emulated Jesus. Michael was born different… gifted... chosen by God and given special talents and abilities. He was different than his family, different than any other soul on this earth. He was chosen by God to deliver a message via the conduit of his fame, talent and musical genius, to remind the world of LOVE, healing and compassion. He was hunted, stalked, ridiculed and maligned because of this for as the Bible tells us when we are about God’s business:
“If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15: 19 American Standard Version
My Christmas prayer for each of you this year is that no matter what is going on in your life this year that your blessings abound starting today and on into the coming year, as the biblical expression states “Pressed down, shaken up, pressed down again and over flowing"… in God’s LOVE. Just as Jesus was born hunted and stalked by jealous greedy, evil, power driven people in his lifetime and ultimately put to death on the cross for the salvation of all mankind, He fulfilled God’s calling and purpose to teach the world about God’s LOVE, about salvation through Christ Jesus and the cross. Michael endured the same in his lifetime and over came so much to also ultimately die at the hands of greedy, selfish people and ultimately fulfilled the calling on his life as well… to share God’s LOVE with the world… It’s All About LOVE… L.O.V.E. May your lives abound in LOVE! I wish for Peace, Joy, LOVE and a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
henever I see something beautiful, I say, "Oh, God, that’s beautiful." I say little prayers like that all through the day." ~ Michael Jackson
I hope you enjoy this beautiful story of Christmas from the perspective of the lowly shepherds of the field as the angels visited them on the night of the birth of Jesus.
Luke 2: 6-20, American Standard Version:
And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she (Mary the mother of Jesus) should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased. And it came to pass, when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. And when they saw it, they made known concerning the saying which was spoken to them about this child. And all that heard it wondered at the things which were spoken unto them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these sayings, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, even as it was spoken unto them.