Monday, June 11, 2012

Unexpected Wisdom From 50 Cent

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."

*clears throat*

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!


  1. Every homeless person I've ever met has left me with a nugget of truth or wisdom. The stereotypes that I cling to about people on the streets leaves me surprised and overwhelmed with every encounter.

  2. I agree! Some of the most profound lessons I've ever had are from people who I was "helping." I always got more out of the experience than they did!

  3. Ahhh...well said ! I totally get the "unexpected places" comment where God speaks such truth into your heart. This happened to me while talking to the driver of a tow truck while he was getting ready to tow our car to be fixed. I asked if he wanted me to move another one of our cars out of the way so he could more easily get to the van in trouble and he said, "Not unless you want to go around all day moving cars out of my way." God spoke something like this into my heart -- "you keep trying to move all the obstacles out of the way so I can take care of things and that's not your job." -- hmmm...think I might have to write about that story :-) Thanks for your timely words !


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