If you’ve ever heard Michael Jackson’s song ‘Man in the Mirror’ you might think it’s all about activism and politicking. With lyrics like, “If you want to make the world a better place then look at yourself and make a change,” anyone would raise an eyebrow to the defying characteristic of righteous action this song exudes.
Three years ago, after the news of Jackson’s passing, I played this song on my iPod as a way to honor the late, great, king of pop. Even though I was only a minimal fan at best, I still needed to have my own sense of closure, however trivial it was. The song I chose to memorialize Jackson with (in my own mind) was one of my favorites, yet I realized that I hadn’t actually paid that close attention to the lyrics. Sure, I heard the mantra, “Make that change,” ring over and over again, but it hadn’t hit home until that day.
Reclining in my luxurious overstuffed loveseat with a full bowl of popcorn in my lap I heard, “I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love. It’s time that I realize that there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan. Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?” How did I ever miss that? Was it because I was jaded by the 80’s-era of Madonna and Michael Jackson pop-infused dance floor accessory successes, or was it because so often we choose to tune out that which we think has little or nothing to do with us?
Perhaps it takes someone dying to wake us up and refresh our sensitivity to the needs of the world around us. We don’t have to be revolutionaries or extremists to foster what amazing yet too often inert potential we all have lying dormant inside our hearts. All we need is to take a good look at ourselves and, as so justly crooned by the talented artist himself, ”Stand up, stand up and lift yourself, now!”
Whether it is your own special contribution to your family, community, or an even larger fan base, let no message be any clearer, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.”
June 27th, 2012