Point to Ponder: "And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance." - MJ
STORY LINE: written by Rajiv ShahI recently watched a film about the late Michael Jackson's life, THIS IS IT. I've been a fan of his for a long time – his music, his humanitarian work, and his capacity for compassion even when the world condemned him. One of the segments in the film touched me deeply and got me thinking about the theme of today's reflection.
Michael Bearden was hired as Michael's music supervisor on his last concert tour. A concert that never happened due to Jackson's untimely death. Bearden was recalling his strongest memory of Jackson- an encounter he had during their rehearsals together. The memory revolved around their shared first names, Michael.
Bearden and Jackson were working on a musical selection when Michael Jackson stopped and said, “Bearde, you know what our name means? Well, our name means one who is most like God.”
Bearden shook his head triumphantly and a cocky smile broke across his face.
Jackson was quick to stop him, “no, no, no, we got to be humble. We gotta be humble.”
Bearden could see Jackson sobering. “I am humble MJ. Why are you so serious about this?”
“Well, I don't want God to take our gifts away.”
Bearden shook his head, “I don't think that's going to happen. And I think your gifts are greater than mine.”
Jackson was heated, “no, no, no, don't say that. Don't say that.”
“Well, why MJ?”
“Because you're here with me and I'm here with you. And we have to use our gifts together to help people figure out what their gifts are.”
Bearden was speechless. Here was arguably the greatest entertainer of all time telling him that they were there to help other people discover their own gifts. Bearden would add that Jackson's humanity, his empathy, and compassion are what set him apart. For Michael, in Bearden's estimation, truly did care about people.
Much like Bearden, at first glance I misinterpreted what Michael had initially said about being most like God. Just like Bearden, I thought that Jackson was self-congratulating himself for his own gifts. That God had chosen them, to bestow onto them, these unique qualities and for that reason were better than others.
So I watched the segment again. And again. And the more I listened, the more I came to realize that Michael Jackson wasn't operating from the same motivations we sometimes do. Being like God didn't mean that they were to put themselves onto a pedestal, but his talent was a responsibility to help others find their own passion through the gift he was given - music.
How often do we use our talents and our gifts to exalt our own own needs? How often can we say that we used our strengths to help another shine? And if not, why? Why is it we feel there is only a finite amount of talent, a limited amount of joy, and why do we feel we must keep it only for ourselves?
So the next time we look down I hope it is not to look at how far we've risen past another, to congratulate ourselves, but is instead there to help another up – to use your passion to encourage another to discover their own 'gifts.'