Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

All Is Vanity

On September 7, 1984, I stood with my girlfriend on the field of Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO. Fifteen rows in front of us was a huge platform, full of sets, props, speakers, wires, lights and musical instruments. Jermaine, Randy, Marlon, Tito and Jackie were up there. Oh yeah… Michael Jackson was there too.

Yes, it’s true. I was there at the Jackson’s Victory tour. I don’t remember much from the concert. I remember it was a great performance. I also remembered how small I felt when I looked around that stadium at 50,000+ people. It wasn’t my first time in the stadium. I had been in the stands with 76,000 other screaming fans to watch the Broncos play a few times before. But it’s a whole different feeling when you’re on the field. I remember at the time that it was the biggest concert event the world had known.

Other than the crowd, I only remember flashes of the concert itself. I remember how everybody went nuts the first time that Michael moonwalked. Other than that, nothing of the show really sticks out in my mind. Although the memory of the concert has faded, one thing is as clear in my mind as if it happened yesterday. That’s how sore my shoulders were after the show.

From the time the show started, everyone in the stadium was standing. They said they were selling seats to the concert, but in reality, they were just selling space. Chairs were not needed that night. One thing about being field-level in the 15th row—the view is great—if you’re 6-feet tall. Standing next to us was a little girl. She tried to jump and see. She tried to stand in her chair and see. But she was just too short. That’s why my shoulders ached. I asked her if she would like to get on my shoulders to watch the concert. I’ll never forget her wide-eyed smile as she said yes. Do you have any idea how much a child can dance while seated on another person’s shoulders? I do. That little girl moved like she was a Jackson—and I paid for it. But it was worth it.

A lot has changed since 1984. The girlfriend who was with me has been my wife for the past 21 years. The Jackson family never toured together again. Michael’s life spiraled into a murky mire of self-destructiveness that culminated in his death this past week. But with all the ad nauseum coverage of Michael Jackson’s tragic life and death, I keep coming back to the same thought—I wonder what happened to that little black girl in 1984 who worshipped the ground he moonwalked on? In the vanishing vapor that was the life of Michael Jackson, he had the potential to eternally touch the lives of many people like her. What a shame it was wasted.

Ecclesiastes 8:10


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