I grew-up partially worshipping rock stars. I recall how my parents would talk about the stars of THEIR generation. As we all grew older, so did their stars.
THEIRS grew old and older. Like them. THEIRS began to sicken and die … eventually like them. I think back at times how it must have felt for my parents stars to fall. For that feeling of mortality to sink in. Sink in with health failing falling stars. Even after my parents died I noticed the stars of their generation dying. There was a sadness to it even though for so many there was scandal and dirt.
As I have grown old I have been able to shrug and not judge the fallen stars of my parents generation. Sometimes their immorality and failings made them greater stars because it simply made them … MORE HUMAN.
I remember the talk and even romance of a rock star I admired named Jim Morrison. All the scandals attached to him. All the talk and humiliation from thousands of judges and judgements about him. My near worship of him has changed over the years. Fortunately I have come to see THAT star in the same way I grew to see my parents stars: WITH COMPASSION. To look at them and see their
Recently another star of my generation died. Tom Petty. I did not know much about him but loved his music. I never knew any scandals about him. I heard he was a good guy. I heard good stories about him. I felt a sadness with his death. A few years older than I. THAT reminded me of my own mortality. Tonight it reminds me of how my parents may have felt when a star of their generation died.
At work today I heard a “good christian” and fake moralist gossip about how Tom Petty was a heroin addict etc etc. I got angry. DISGUSTED. The man just died and all he can talk about was a heroin addiction?
My coworker may think he has a high road on morality and that highway to heaven some day. He just reminds me of so many. Of myself at times in the past and … how sick we ALL can be with that inevitable question of, “how did they DIE?”
Maybe that is mythic curiosity for so many of us. Our deities die and we may wonder what got through their armor to kill them: Drugs? A bullet? Cancer or car wreck? It’s a sick thing but natural thing borne of our fascination with something personal we see in those Deities society makes:
There is a sickness I see in so much of our curiosity about such deaths. It is the gossip so many of us jabber. It has come to me to be like dragging a corpse spiritually through the streets thousands and thousands of times but fortunately, they are dead and do not feel it.
What I DO wish the fallen stars could feel is…. that rare compassion we may summon for them and that empathy we may connect to them with in our shared humanity.
All humans are flawed.
The famous the holy the humble unknown.
My father was a star to me. A flawed man. Yet when I got past the pain he inflicted on me and saw the often sadness and pain of his humanity, I was able to look at the joy he gave me and celebrate him for that. For the GOOD and JOY he gave me and not the beatings or screaming’s he inflicted on me.
If we want to raise ourselves up to be great like those flawed humans we raised up so high, we need to forgive and let go of all that we would so sickly pettily gossip about them and remember …
The Wonder they may have given us.
And embrace our shared humanity as we do not lay them to rest but change how they are resting in our memories.