Looking in the Mirror
A few weeks before Michael Jackson died, I have a strong suspicion that people would’ve offered more cruel words than they’re willing to now that he’s passed. Initially, I was bothered by this, thinking that most of them were just hopping on the MJ bandwagon. A few months ago, after one of my friends told me he was going to start working with Michael, I wrote to ask him, “You don’t think he’s weird?” The next time we talked, he told me that the media painted an image of Michael that was different than who he really was and that he looked beyond that; my friend didn’t judge him and believed that he wasn’t trying to recreate the pain he’s experienced.
After several days of being inundated with Michael Jackson news, music, videos and movies, I began to truly realize why his passing was such a big deal to people. Troubled or not, he was unarguably one of the biggest icons the world has ever known; at some point in many people’s lives since 1964, he provided the soundtrack. I started reminiscing on my own MJ mania and remembered just how much his music meant to me and how much he meant–and means–to generations of people.
Pretty much everyone is troubled with something, regardless of how privately they struggle. None of us are perfect. Despite the controversy that surrounded Jackson and the varying responses to him and his personal choices, many people are now choosing to remember the good in his legacy. Life is so short and death, in spite of its imminence, can be so unexpected. Almost all of us want to be remembered for the good we’ve done and the joy we’ve brought.
Michael Jackson’s passing reminds me to find and focus on the good in people, not just life at large. So many of us are not yet who we’d like to be, but regularly make strides to become the person we know we can be. I’m not suggesting we naively overlook the lesser desirable qualities; everyone isn’t a good person nor is everyone trying to be. What we can do, however, is check the basis of our opinions of others and realize that all of us have a story–that we are mostly unfamiliar with–that informs our perspective of the world and our actions within it. We should all have mercy on each other, forgive, and not forever dangle past mistakes over anyone’s head. If you recount your own story, certainly you can find moments when you desired or required the forgiveness of others.
Find the good and be the change.