17. Reflections of Gratitude for Michael Jackson
In the United States, November is the month of Thanksgiving. For one day we all typically eat a bountiful harvest, spend the day with loved ones and give thanks for everything we’re grateful for in our lives. Thanksgiving has long been the time of year that puts me in an attitude of gratitude as I reflect back on reasons why I feel blessed.
Thanksgiving fell on the 25th day of November this year, a day of the month which always causes fans to stop and reflect on our love for Michael since he passed away on the 25th day of June. As a result, this year my reflections of gratitude are directed squarely at Michael, and I feel compelled to share them with you. I hope in doing so I will encourage all of you to reflect upon your feelings of gratitude for him as well.
Mariah Carey’s loving words put us in the right frame of mind to do that: "Let us remember him for his unparalleled contribution to the world of music, his generosity of spirit in his quest to heal the world and the joy he brought to his millions of devoted fans throughout the world."
I created this blog a little over a year ago for one reason: to honor Michael with love. Like so many others, I was deeply affected by his passing and as time went by I developed some very strong feelings which needed to be expressed. I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to do that by writing for the Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait, because as my ability to express love for Michael evolved, I began to develop a deep sense of joy I had never experienced before.
One song of Michael’s that always brings a tear to my eye is "She’s Out of My Life." His rendition of that song touches me deeply. His vocals are incredible; some of his best, in my opinion. In one line he sings, "Now I’ve learned that love needs expression." I have come to understand why that is so important…because expressing love puts you in a state of joy.
I’ve loved his music and have been a fan for decades, but I never knew Michael on a deeper level like some fans did. I never knew who The Man Behind the Music was. When he passed away, I put all my time and attention into getting to know him. As I discovered one thing after another that I cherished, I fell in love with him. It has been an amazing experience because it has created so much joy for me. If you haven’t allowed yourself to discover Michael on a deeper level I encourage you to do so, because you can’t help but fall in love with him when you do. Let me attempt to explain what you will be falling in love with.
When you fall in love with Michael Jackson, you’re falling in love with a man who had a remarkable ability to create extraordinary success through his creative gifts, a man who used his global fame for as a force for humanitarian causes around the world, donating over $300,000,000 to charity.
He was an artist who understood the significance of appreciating fans in a way few others have grasped; a man who once walked 200 yards in the pouring rain with a broken foot just to talk to his fans; a musical phenomenon, a perfectionist, a visionary, and a brilliant entertainer who brought joy and happiness to millions of fans with his exceptional talent; a person who has the ability to touch the heart of the entire world with his voice. You’re falling in love with a legend.
When you fall in love with Michael Jackson, you’re falling in love with an amazing father who shared an undying love with his children; a dedicated son who respected and revered his mother; and an uncle whose impact on his nephews is so strong it has created a passion within them to protect and preserve the legacy he worked so hard to build.
You’re falling in love with a man who had beautiful eyes that looked for the good in others, sweet lips that spoke of healing the world and a loving heart that guided him to affect people in a positive way. A man whose smile could light up a room, whose laugh was so infectious you can’t help but laugh right along with him and a fashion icon who influenced an entire generation. Phillip Bloch, Los Angeles’ premiere fashion stylist, said, "Michael Jackson was not influenced by fashion. Fashion was influenced by Michael Jackson."
He was a pioneer, an innovator and a man who sometimes did things unconventionally, so you’re falling in love with a man who was different from everybody else and proud of it. He didn’t want to be "another can in the assembly line." He wanted to be the best at whatever he did and his dedication to that earned him the title King of Pop. As Berry Gordy said, "He raised the bar and then broke the bar."
The best thing of all is that when you fall in love with Michael Jackson, you’re falling in love with a man who loved people unconditionally, regardless of race, religion, culture or way of life. Something we should all do.
Michael had a magic about him that no one else has. Beyonce said it best when she spoke these words: "We are all honored to have been alive in this generation to experience the magic of Michael Jackson." One of his best friends ever, Elizabeth Taylor wrote words so many of us agree with as well: "I have loved genius in my lifetime."
I’m grateful for every one of you who take time out of your busy day to read my blog, I love you. I’m thankful for all the friends I’ve made because of Michael Jackson. You get me and I get you. You love me for who I am and I love you for who you are. We’ve all been brought together because of this man. That’s a gift from him.
I’m blessed to be able to express my appreciation through this blog for all the wonderful attributes I have come to adore about Michael. The more I express love for him, the more I engage your feelings of love for him as well. The joy we feel as a result is radiated outward to others, effectively putting love back into the world like he wanted. That’s our gift to him.
Opening your heart to Michael Jackson is a blessing that brings with it a precious gift of love and loving him has been one of the greatest joys I’ve ever experienced in my life…and I mean that sincerely.
As you reflect on your love for Michael what feelings of gratitude come up for you?
Director of Community Development
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