Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No honey, he was strange

You knew it had to happen. You aren't even safe here in my tiny little corner of the blogosphere. Yes. I'm going to talk about Michael Jackson! Well, actually I'm going to talk about one little part of his funeral. I danced my considerably smaller booty off during the 1980s to all of his big big hits. I have a soft spot in my heart for that era of Michael Jackson. But I was never willing to pay huge sums of money for concert tickets or sit out in the rain for a possible glimpse, and I feared that it was quite possible he was guilty of the horrible things he was accused of back a decade or so ago. I was, and still am a fan of his music and dancing, but that's about as far as it goes.

In all of the circus that surrounded...and still surrounds his death, the investigation, the all consuming news cycles, and the enormous funeral (?) I was most struck by something Al Sharpton said. I know he meant it to be comforting, but it reminded me of other bad funeral homilies/sermons/eulogies I've heard.

With tenderness he looked at the children and said, "many people will say your daddy was strange. But he wasn't" O honey. Yeah...he was...and he seems to have loved those some way...and they seem to have loved him.

It just reminded me of some other funerals that I've been a part of where people didn't want to admit that the person who died had killed himself, or that she had been a really awful mother, or that there had been a drug addiction or whatever. I TOTALLY get that the pulpit at a funeral is not the place where you dredge up a long list of sins! I'm just saying that it is not helpful to lie either. Michael Jackson was off the charts talented and the charts in other ways too.

All of that can be true at once. None of us is singularly one thing. The worst alcoholic was at some point something other than that. I don't just mean something sentimental in one of those group exercises where you go around the room and say 1 nice thing about everyone. I just mean that each of us is multi layered, nuanced, broken, fabulous, sinful, and loved by God. It seems hard for us, perhaps especially with celebrities, but not just with celebrities, it just seems hard for us to avoid putting people in 1 category. That person is strange. That person is person is fabulous.

Who knows what I would have said if I had been part of the Jackson funeral extravaganza! I'd like to think that I would have said something that was truthful...even if that was difficult...because no matter how strange any of us is, God still loves us and still wants to be in relationship with us. And that is the truth too. Thanks be to God, Rhoda