Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pondering my youth and what's really important

Earlier today, it was noted that Farrah Fawcett had lost her battle with cancer. As a someone who graduated in 1976 from high school, Farrah Fawcett became the icon of sexiness. She seemed to be the all "natural" girl. In the television hit "Charlie's Angels", she and Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson brought on a new age of what being a woman was all about. Angelina Jolie owes part of her success to this cheesy 1970's show.

I almost hate to admit I loved that show. These woman were smart and strong and sexy. In an era where I was still being told I couldn't do this or that because "You're a girl" was proved wrong. In an era I was encouraged NOT to go into ministry, in spite of a deep and abiding calling, "Charlie's Angels" was about breaking stereotypes. It was not great television, but for some of us, it was a reminder that when we went against societies expectations, we could succeed.

By late afternoon, Farrah Fawcett was knocked off the front page with death of Michael Jackson, "the King of Pop". I remember Michael Jackson when he was just a kid with the Jackson Five. He was my age. I have to admit, I was not a big fan. I liked his music okay, he did some amazing things in the early days of music videos, however his descent into the bizarre made me turn away from any interest I might have in his music.

Having said all that, I am pondering all the energy and focus on a has-been pop star and has-been TV actress and pin-up girl. Certainly both of these persons are part and parcel of the memories of my youth. Each added to the pop culture in their own ways via television, movies, videos and music. Both are "unique and unrepeatable."

However, there are countless persons who have given far more, done more to make the world a better place, whose names will never be known. Their hair might not be as fabulous as Farrah's, their music may not be as cutting edge as Michael's, they may never make a million dollars, but they live, they love, they share and they make sacrifices in countless ways every day.

In the next few days we will see through CNN, MSNBC, Twitter, Facebook, and all sorts of media outlets the outpouring of love for these two people who many have never met. Money will be spent on flowers to lay outside homes and besides the stars on the sidewalk in Hollywood. And I will be left to ponder once again how we pour out our love and affection for celebrities and some how miss the marvelous people around us everyday. It is not that I don't appreciate what was offered, and what I gained and what I enjoyed of the arts they shared. It's just that I do not understand offering that kind of adoration for rock stars, sports figures, actors and actresses who do what we over pay them to do. What have they done to deserve such praise and such adulation?

I am probably over analyzing. I just do not get it. Considering the other more pressing issues in our world, the death of these two starts is sad, but not any more tragic than any other person who dies from cancer or dies early from heart failure. When hundreds are being wounded and killed in Iran for protesting, or in Iraq from car bombings, or people are struggling to pay their bills after they have been layed-off, or trying to survive the heat without air conditioning, our focus on these two deaths seem shallow.

At fifty, it is becoming more commonplace to say goodbye to those things of my youth. So, I say goodbye to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I do hope their family and friends find peace and comfort in the days ahead. I choose not to focus or "gawk" at the media circus that follows. I will continue to give thanks for those persons day in and day out who give of themselves to make the world a better place.

As I say adieu to one more part of my childhood and youth, I continue to be

Graced to Serve.

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