I love it when wisdom comes from unexpected places. Like when one of your kids speaks a truth that is way beyond their years, a kind of honest realness that cuts right to your heart and reverses the roles of teacher and student.
Or when you hear a famous, misogynistic, hardcore rapper like 50 Cent speak a simple and fundamental truth of God and it leaves you feeling shocked and convicted.
Last night, I was fingering the remote and came across a new show called "Oprah's Next Chapter." What caught my attention was an interview Oprah was doing with Michael Jackson's daughter, Paris. It was an amazing interview that really brought some clarity into the genius that was Michael Jackson.
For example, when asked what she thought when her father made her and her brothers wear masks in public, she said (this is paraphrasing) "he did it so we could have a normal childhood."
I remember seeing them on TV when they were little and looking from the outside in, it seemed like anything but normal. How could a child be "normal" when their parent makes them wear a mask?
"He did it so nobody could see our faces when we were with him. That way, when we went in public without him, we couldn't be recognized and we could just be like normal kids." She spoke of how their favorite places to go were Chuck E Cheese and Toys R Us. What kid of a celebrity has that kind of freedom? Not many, which means that one of the biggest celebrities of all time pulled off an amazing thing; he gave his children the gift of normalcy.
Most of us strive to give our kids what we didn't have when we were growing up. We'll do anything to give them the toys, clothes and vacations we never had. In this sense, Michael was no different. He never had a normal childhood and he proudly wore the role of weirdo so that his kids could have it. Funny how things become really clear with a little distance and perspective, huh?
But what surprised me came after the clarity that Paris provided. Oprah interviewed 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson). He's a multi-millionaire, mega successful rapper who has a bad boy image. In the interview, it's clear that there is a duplicity about him. He has a persona and a personality. What you see in the interview is not a gritty, foul language rebel but instead a meditative, thoughtful and intelligent philanthropist.
In this part one of the interview, Oprah asks him about everything from their supposed feud to his being shot and he is surprisingly likeable and honest, even timid at times. At one point he talks about not being afraid to die and says, "Either pray or worry, don't do both...If you're going to sit there, say a prayer, and 'then' worry about it?
How does God feel about you? He knows you're sitting there worrying."
How profound is that? I know he's right. And here's this guy who sold drugs on the street, harbored enough enemies that someone shot him 9 times in front of his Grandma's house, writes lyrics that demean women, advocates violence and stirs up racial tension yet there it was, a divine truth.
It's a humbling feeling when a street thug gets and lives something that basic and you don't. Cause I struggle with worry, people. The anxiety and I? We're like the Hatfield's and McCoy's! I'm getting the upper hand but I think this will be a fight to the death!
It was a reminder that most of us are two people in this life; what we show the world and who we are when we get home and strip off the mask. It also reminded me that we all have something valuable to offer and that God will use the most unlikely people to speak the biggest truths because when it comes from an unexpected place, we are often more likely to listen.
You'd expect wisdom when you're listening to Joyce Meyer or Maya Angelou but have you ever heard wisdom from a very unexpected place? Please share!