An Authentic, Sometimes Gritty, and Always Hopeful Blog for All Who Live with Severe Physical Pain

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Michael Jackson and I Have in Common

I am a year older than Michael Jackson, so, naturally, I have been inclined to follow his music and life through the years

 I loved his little boy sweetness when he sang “Ben” and I believed he was about the most gifted performer on the planet when he released his “Thriller” album.  I became annoyed with him, though, when he began to wear a single glove and grab at his crotch through every song, and later, came to feel sorry for him as he underwent repeated plastic surgeries, finding no peace with the contours of his face.  In the 90’s, I felt disdain for him when the rumors surfaced about the possible sexual abuse occurring at his Neverland Ranch.  I pretty much ignored anything in the news relative to him after that, although I pitied him when reports of his marriages to Priscilla Presley and another woman raked him across the headlines, and was shocked when he dangled his infant son over a balcony.  Sadly, I wasn't  surprised when allegations of drug abuse arose, and when Jackson was found dead in June of 2009, I simply shook my head sadly , at what is now an all too familiar fate among celebrities.  Whether his doctor, Conrad Murray pulled the final plug on his life or not, it seemed life had been continuously dripping down the drain for this confused and tortured man.

Although I am not interested in the details of Murray’s trials, I have been unable to escape some of them, as I try to catch up with the morning's headlines while I make my coffee and  eat my cereal. Through the bits and pieces I have heard, I discover that I relate to Michael Jackson more than I would think.

First, Jackson and I share a journey with physical pain. I did not know just how much Jackson suffered from pain.  After I heard this mentioned in the news, I googled it, to find out more.  Jackson suffered from all sorts of pain:  as the result of his plastic surgeries, from an auto-immune disease, and from the sheer intensity of his dancing.   Also, Jackson experienced several accidents, a notable one occurring in 1984, when his hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial which required hospitalization for severe scalp burns.   Jackson knew pain--no wonder he started taking pain meds somewhere along the way.  I do too.
The second area where I relate to Jackson is much more personal, and it strikes me deeply to imagine his despair at the end of his life over it. Jackson revealed his deepest longing in a now, infamous garbled tape, recorded by Dr. Murray just a couple of weeks before his death.  In it, Jackson expresses regrets about his life, and says, essentially, that all he wanted to do was to “give his children a good life.” 

I am humbled by how similar is Jackson’s longing to my own.  My pain syndrome has changed my life in ways that I too, regret for my children and now also for my grandchildren.  My energy has left me high and dry too many times to count; my medication has hampered  my processing and my memory, resulting in frustration and  embarrassment for my kids; and I have shown them that they cannot count on me for certain, because pain has kept me from being prepared, or from showing up at all for over six years now. 

If I could make a wish it would be the same as Jackson’s--to give my children a good life.  I wish I could change the way I am and prevent these things from happening.   

But, thanks be to God,  I “get” something that Jackson missed.  For in my next breath, I realize, once again, that pain is not the issue.  Rather, it is my foolish notion that my life without pain would make me “better”.  In truth, I cannot claim to having been such a great parent before I became ill--for wisdom comes with pain as it does all difficulties.  Indeed, it is my ongoing choice to act as though I really believe that Christ is my savior and, therefore, is at work for good in and through all things… including my pain...that gives strength to my weakness.  When I can show my family that God’s love is deep, and wide; long and high, then I am the best parent possible.

We need not be the sum of our circumstances--I am sorry that it appears that Michael Jackson may have not known this.  I hope that my blog will help you to see that your life matters for so much more than you could ever imagine, regardless, and possibly, in part due to the pain through which you journey.  God loves you more than you can imagine and is at work, even now, to make this thing right.  I am praying for you.

Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist].    

1 Corinthians 8: 6   (Amplified Bible)

Until Next Time, Peace and Comfort to You--


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