I didn't know much about Michael Jackson until he died. But the more I've learned about him, the more connection I feel with him.
Michael Jackson was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and was nearly 30 before he left the group. He had invested many hours of his life as a young man in door-to-door evangelism. When he disassociated himself with the group (because he could not bring himself to shun his sister LaToya as the church demanded) he was told he was committing the unforgivable “sin against the Holy Spirit”. As a Jehovah’s Witness, Michael did not celebrate holidays or birthdays. This video shows Michael celebrating his first Christmas at age 35. He also speaks of the guilt that sent him to cry in the bathroom afterward, feeling like he had done something wrong.
Have you ever experienced that kind of stomach-knotting guilt and confusion? I remember buying my first pair of jeans when I was 24 years old. Wearing slacks for the first time. Going to a movie theater. Wearing a bathing suit in mixed company. Trying a condom for the first time (relax--I was married, and 6 months pregnant, to boot!). Never mind that ordinary people do these things every day, I still felt that heightened awareness, that sense of being on full-alert for "consequences".
My mind was programmed to expect either Divine retribution for violating one of God's "principles", or Satanic attacks because I'd done something to void the warranty on God's protection. I am so glad that my choices are truly my own now. I hope my children can always base their choices on what will make them happy, not on what they fear.
Sometimes the kids and I listen together to Michael Jackson's vision of working together for a world where we'll only "cry happy tears", and every day is like the best part of Christmas.