I know, I know… it’s late. I’m working 10-hour shifts for the next two weeks, so I’m mostly just awake (well, out of bed…) long enough to eat and go to work. It’s not too much fun, but it means that I get 3 days off during the week instead of 2. To relax myself from stress, I like to listen to music… This week, I like:

Michael Jackson!!

First off, I know some people have a lot of issues with the King of Pop. There were lots of accusations about him. Though none of them were ever proven, he certainly put himself out there for such accusations to be made.

What I do like about Michael is his philanthropy and inspirational music. Michael actually holds the world record for the most charities supported and endorsed by a celebrity. Normally I stick to Christian music because I don’t really care to hear about peoples’ sexcapades and drug habits. Michael never did that. One of my favorite songs by Michael is “Just Beat It”

Just beat it is Michael’s cry about gang violence. He wrote it during the heyday of gangs in the early 90s. He recognizes that these kids want to be tough, they want to be bad… but it isn’t worth it! Being cool and liked isn’t worth the risk of being killed.

In Michael’s song “Ben” he talks about a guy who people don’t realize his good qualities. Despite all appearances, Ben is very special and a true friend. When you do research you find out that what made Ben so unlikeable was that he was a rat, but Michael is saying that if you look past appearances, you find the good in anything.

Man in the Mirror is another song of deep introspection. Michael realized that there are people dying of hunger, in the cold, with no home and he ignored them. We pretend not to see the little, invisible ones. And too often we recognize them and say someone should do something about that. Michael says that if you’re going to make a change you have to start with the man you see in the mirror. If you aren’t living the change that you want to see, no one is going to change.

Whether or not we agree with the life that Michael Jackson lived, I think we can all learn lessons from it. Michael’s music is a reflection of the agony of a deeply tortured and convicted soul. You know what he felt at any point in his life because his music was an exact reflection of it. I truly believe that we could Heal The World, Michael’s dream, if we could all live with such introspection and painful honesty as Michael did.