“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
“It means we are looking for HIM in all the wrong places. We look high and low for God, but somehow He’s not there. So we blame Him and tell ourselves that He must have forgotten us. Or else we decide that He left a long time ago, if He was ever around. How strange to miss what is everywhere…very strange…Doesn’t it remind you of fish who say they’re thirsty?”
I was given an engraved stone, when I retired, which said, “I TOUCH THE FUTURE, I TEACH”. My definition of that was to educate while, at the same time, allowing children the opportunity to find their own unique voice. Often, that was a tough needle to thread, but, I always held onto the belief that process was as important as product, and, empowering children to take ownership of their education helped them move closer to who they were to become.
Today I celebrate the writing of my 100th article! For me, that is a dream come true. Looking back at the goals I set for myself initially, PAYING MICHAEL FORWARD has been everything I dreamed of and more. I have been given the gift of sharing who I am and what my talent might be, while giving heat to the passionate fire in my soul. I have been invited to sing in a choir whose talents are diverse, feeling the passion as strongly as I do. I have been challenged to not only talk, but walk. And, my teacher personifies one WHO TOUCHES THE FUTURE. Michael Jackson saw potential in EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. He appreciated both big and small. He epitomized a sustainable non-judgmental approach to living.
“The peacock’s full plumage would explode only when it was in love, and then all the colors would shine-all the colors of the rainbow on one body. I was immediately taken with that beautiful image and the meaning behind it. That bird’s plumage conveyed the message I was looking for to explain the Jacksons and our intense devotion to one another, as well as our MULTIFACTED interests. Our first tour had focused our interest in uniting people of all races through music. Some people we knew wondered what we meant when we talked about uniting all the races through music-after all, we were black musicians. Our answer was ‘music is color-blind.’ We saw that every night, especially in Europe and the other parts of the world we had visited. The people we met there loved our music. It didn’t matter to them what color our skin was or which country we called home.
Michael imagined a Utopian world here on earth. He wrote full-flavored lyrics to feed world-wide anthems calling for healing and world change…envisioning a more perfect planet. There was a communion with people that occurred, when Michael painted his message… using both voice and body… empowering activism. Michael offered outlines that Fans later filled in with shades and textures, in enthusiastic response. The potential that Michael saw offered new realms of limitless possibilities. MICHAEL HAS THE GIFT OF MOVING MASSES OF PEOPLE FOR GOOD.
“Before I say goodbye, I wish to tell my Fans about a new philanthropic project that is close to my heart: It is aimed to help young people, it is about mentoring. Today’s world has many problems. Many of them are hard to solve. They require money, manpower, expertise, equipment and so on, but, what they require most is people who have the will to take them on. People that will not give up until the job is done.”
Michael Jackson August 30, 2003 L.A.
Michael’s Utopian dreams included the building of the first MICHAEL JACKSON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. He planned to fund it with earnings from his THIS IS IT concerts in London. After Michael’s passing, Fans joined to launch MICHAEL’S DREAM FOUNDATION in an effort to realize that dream.
“When Michael left this world he made a path for all to follow in his footsteps, his work continues in all of us, he taught this world that love is the answer. His love for children made him dream of a hospital like no other, filled with all the things he envisioned, but mostly with love. Michael envisioned a hospital that felt like a home, a warm and fun place, not a sterile cold institutional building. When we all heard his dream on that recording it hit everyone like a lightning bolt, straight to the heart and minds of many people. This is where ‘Michael’s Dream Foundation’ was born. What better way to carry on Michael’s work than to see his dream fulfilled. I know I owe Michael much more than this, a lifetime of friendship, a lifetime of love. Over the past several years it was a painful transition for me but I feel as though I have calm and peace now. I see Michael’s vision and I will follow the path he left us. I truly believe that Michael is still leading the way. Many people have come together because they also feel a sanctuary in what this Foundation is doing. We are healing many broken hearts across the world, bringing unity not just as a fan gathering but doing what Michael would have done. I truly believe that Michael would have built that hospital but now it’s in our hands. I love you my dear friend and I miss you so much.” Louise A. Greer, Secretary/Board and Committee Member Michael’s Dream Foundation…quote taken from A LIFE FOR LOVE Brigitte Bloemen, Marian Dobler, Miriam Lohr 2013
“Michael is a very special man. He would come in for his lesson and sit down and we would have a prayer and then read the Bible, and then have another prayer and start to work. That’s the way he liked to begin his day. Can you imagine a performer as big as Michael turning around in a lesson and discussing how wonderful God has been to him and how much he loves God?” Seth Riggs Voice Coach
Finding Utopia hinges on KEEPING THE FAITH. The tragic loss of Michael Jackson wasn’t a measure of the experience. Michael spoke the language of love knowing well its meaning. He felt chosen to heal the wounds of the world, all the while doing it with amazing JOI DE VIVRE! The way Michael saw the world came through in his choice of lyrics and words in every single message he ever gave. “By binding his heart to his art, Michael would keep his musical legacy alive. Through binding his heart to our hearts, he keeps his humanitarian legacy alive. Forever.” MJLegacy
“Thank you, Michael, Dear, for creating Neverland, for bringing Heaven to Earth where you inspire others to find their own inner Neverlands-in order to elevate this planet to Heaven. We are finding our way-we love you…more…forever.”
Neverland Valley Ranch is the Rosetta Stone for Utopia. Michael created it to be shared, an experience touching innocence, wonder, magic and joy. He was working towards perfection on earth. Lyrically, he describes it in “A PLACE WITH NO NAME.”
I felt a strange feeling like a mist
I walked down
Towards the end of the road
And in the fog a woman appeared
She said don’t you worry my friend
I’ll take care
Take my hand, I’ll take you there
As she took me right through the fog
I saw a beautiful city appear
Where kids are playin and people are
laughin and smiling and
Nothing to fear
She said this is the place
Where no people have pain
With love and happiness
She showed me places I’ve never seen
And things I’ve never done
This really looks like a lotta of fun
I saw the grass and the skies and the birds
And the flowers surrounded by trees
TAKE ME TO A PLACE WITHOUT NO NAME
Michael truly had the courage to attempt anything. His fertile imagination couldn’t see obstacles worth worrying about. His intense collaborative abilities cultivated minds, inspiring all of us to reach for the stars. His profound faith in God and people provide inspiration and hope in a world desperately in need of both. His generous spirit and unconditional love erased all judgment and criticism. He accepted every effort as a gift to be cherished.
You have given me the gift of writing my attempts at PAYING MICHAEL FORWARD, for now, what is 100 times. Together, we are following Michael’s unparalleled legacy, and creating paths of our own. Words cannot express how grateful I am to YOU. I began by putting my heart on the line…and, instead of walking on it…you have walked beside me. What YOU ALL are doing in Michael’s name completely blows my mind. YOU INSPIRE ME EVERY DAY. Together, this beautiful Michael Jackson Choir sings with so many harmonies…never accepting just one note. Ourstory grows every day. I love you.