I have a new customer with a huge music, book and DVD collection. She loaned me her favorite book, which I read in 3 days. : ) It was “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier. The first page blew me away with the imagery. I had to reread it two or three times because I loved the picture it created in my head. Amazing writing. My customer also had a DVD of “This Is It”, a compilation of video footage of rehearsals for Michael Jackson’s final tour, which I also borrowed.
I’ve always been a little fascinated with Michael. I watched him grow up. Here’s the cute little Michael I remember. He was just a few years older than me. I was in awe of him when I was in grade school. I lived in the Detroit area. Motown records was huge. As a kid, I only saw the exciting shiny surface that looked like his life. I wished I could be that good at something.
I was always in awe of kids who seemed to have accomplished something huge while I was just trying to get through 4th grade or whatever I was doing at the time. I watched the Olympics with that same feeling of awe. “If only I practiced harder…..” I would think. I would spend hours doing gymnastics or trying to write a song or a story or draw a picture…. I remember really messing up my back in the third grade after the summer olympics watching Nadja. I always fell short of my vision, that’s for sure. I wanted the perfection I saw on the TV. I wished I could do what they could.
Now, of course, I see things differently. I wouldn’t want Michael’s or Nadja’s life. No freedom. No childhoods. I would have hated it. I am me. My path is different. But, those two achieved something truly awe inspiring. I admire anyone who has accomplished world class anything. It’s beautiful to see what humans can do.
“What I wanted more than anything was to be ordinary. The Sabbath was when I could be” Michael Jackson.
I get that. But he also said this…..
“Sundays were sacred for two other reasons as I was growing up. They were both the day that I attended church and the day that I spent rehearsing my hardest. This may seem against the idea of “rest on the Sabbath,” but it was the most sacred way I could spend my time: developing the talents that God gave me. The best way I can imagine to show my thanks is to make the very most of the gift that God gave me.”
Isn’t that beautiful? I love it. I always remembered it. I love the idea of using Sunday to do what I love, to develop the talents God gave me. To be honest, it’s a daily prayer of mine, “Help me develop the gifts and talents You gave me. Give me the focus and direction…..” I try to remember to do the things I love on Sunday. I get sidetracked, of course, but I try to notice and rein myself in. I also try to make time every day too.
I’m not Michael and I’m not Nadja, but I’m me. And, I know I have been given unique gifts. Everyone has. It’s up to me to do something with them. It’s a celebration of life to me. It’s so easy to leave the things we love and are good at for when we “have time”. But, I really need to make the time. If it’s important to me, it’s important to do.
So, I get up at 4:45 am every day, and I practice what I want to get better at, the things I was born loving. It’s my joy. I’m not world class at any of these things. It doesn’t matter. I love doing them. It’s my celebration of me and my thank you to God. They are my gifts. I love to use them. I want to get better at them. It all deserves my time and attention. The hours from 4:45 until 8:00, fly faster than any others.
The thing is….I like to wake up and spend a little God time too. And, often, I feel bad if I lose my focus and get side-tracked from doing that first thing, like today. I’m sitting here writing this and I haven’t said hello to God yet, haven’t written my thank you note to Him…..I love doing that. It’s my pleasure. “Thank you, God, it’s gorgeous today….” I feel bad when I don’t get to it. Then I remembered Michael. Watching his video and seeing his awesome talent in action reminded me of the quote above. And, I thought to myself that if I don’t sit with God first thing, sitting down to write, or paint, or cook or run is sort of the same thing isn’t it? I’m honoring God by using the gifts he gave me. The thing is, while I’m doing the things I love, I often find myself talking to God anyway. “Thank you, God. Thank you for everything. I love this so much….”