What is it about fame that so many people feel drawn to anyway? The allure of having our name ‘in lights’ or the thought that, if we could only ascend to that height, then people would truly appreciate us? For some, it may be the money and others it may be the power. For others, the glamor and beauty may be the lure.
Studies have shown that there really is something to the adage that there are only six degrees of separation between us and someone famous in the world. They have found that it’s not those close to us who help to make that so, but the strangers we run into daily. However the process works, there’s truth to it.
I’m not one to name drop and really dislike it when others do, but I’ve met some people who were close to famous people in my life. To name a few: Elvis Presley’s step-brother, Michael Landon’s son, Renee Russo, and a host of famous Christian leaders and/or their family. I’m sure many of you reading this could say something similar.
The one thing I noticed and realized, is that without exception, none of them could walk on water, heal the sick (a few said they could…), or raise the dead. Some were humble, and some thought the world revolved around them and for them.
At the center of each ‘star’ I met was the fact that they were just as human as I am. They put their pants on the same way as me. They had to deal with health issues, zits, depression, fear, pride, and all of those human things we deal with every day. In fact, fame wasn’t something they really enjoyed.
When I met Elvis’s step brother, I was doing youth work and he was going to be a speaker for our church. We met for lunch at a local restaurant near Disneyland where the church was. The hostess, not knowing him or me, walked us to the very back of the restaurant where there were no people (we’d asked for a private booth to discuss the event without distraction). The one booth, and only one with it, she picked, had a four-foot-tall poster of Elvis on the wall above the table.
His immediate reaction was, ‘you see, this is what I live with every day. People see me as Elvis’s brother and only want to talk about him. I continually live in his shadow’… Wow, that hit me right in the gut and I felt very sad for him. Yet, he had a great ministry outreach to young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol as he was there when Elvis overdosed.
I guess the motive to the story is that we should be careful of what we wish for. When we get to heaven, the truly famous ones probably won’t be the ones who won the most Grammys, Oscars, or Super Bowls. No, it will be the little lady down the street who gave up everything to take care of her special child, it will be the selfless ones who gave freely to others. It won’t be the most attractive. No, it will be those who blend in every day but who’s lives are dedicated to others. For me, that’s fame.
To be the one who gives to others is what I want to be better at. After a lifetime of seeing the ‘stars’ lives fall apart from the pressure of fame and all of its trappings, I now see the greatness of the selfless soldier, the police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect us, the firemen who run to danger to save us, and those who help the most unlovable in our society.
So, today, my hat’s off to those unsung heroes in this life. My heartfelt thanks for their sacrifice and my prayers for them are number one. They are the famous ones and deserve all the credit they can get. They truly are the ‘stars’…
Thank you to all who serve and give tonight! The world would be a much worse place without you.