All saints have a past and all sinners have a future;" wise words and a sentiment that many of us too often ignore. The untimely passing of pop star Michael Jackson is a reminder that as human beings we are all fraught with uniquely human frailties. While I am not a fan of Jackson's music, it was obvious that he was ridiculously talented within his musical genre, pop music. Jackson's dance routines, so rich in precision and discipline, were a sharp contrast when juxtaposed with his personal life. Jackson serves as a reminder of the complexity of ordinary and extraordinary people, a universal and undeniable human truth.
Public figures' lives are chronicled in the national media and we vicariously experience their personal state of affairs. Our morbid collective curiosity around what should be intensely private stories of personal distress or destruction is a commentary on the darker side of human nature. Within our own communities we sometimes see less dramatic examples of people's lives coming unglued. While I am not suggesting that we should ever turn a blind eye to those that deeply injure others lives, we all could be more tolerant and understanding in our dealings with those that are in the midst of a personal storm. People who abuse their children, their loved ones or other people's children or loved ones, people that steal from others and people that otherwise wreck other peoples' lives can only be forgiven within the bounds of total acknowledgement and remorse from the offender if at all.
It is within the human spirit to sometimes act in self destructive ways. These are the circumstances that most deserve our forbearance. Personal storms often erupt without warning and express themselves in many ways. The painful realization a parent comes to when a son or daughter is abusing alcohol or drugs, the maelstrom confronting a couple struggling to keep their marriage from coming undone, the personal indignity inflicted by the loss of a job or a crippling financial disaster, the unrelenting pain of an emotional crisis, a death or a health crisis. Every one of us will encounter at least one serious life crisis and most of us will need to overcome a series of life crises.
It is an inevitable truth that some of us will stumble and some of us will fall. In those periods of darkness, hopefully we can see ourselves and others suffering the same as redeemable and worthy of resurrection. My mother was fond of saying "but for the grace of god go I;" Not a bad sentiment to consider in acknowledging that we are all profoundly complex beings, capable of great meanness, cowardice, indecency and marvelous kindness, courage and decency. Remember, all kids count.
Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org