It is no secret that people worship celebrity in our culture. To be recognized by others as more special than others is a powerful feeling. It is the feeling of love and acceptance and safety. The problem is that this sort of recognition never satisfies. The feeling of worth and importance that comes with the accolades of the crowd is shallow and fleeting. It is a counterfeit to real love and security.
Lust may have a lot of the same feelings associated with it that love does. Desire. Passion. Arousal. But we all know that lust is not love. Lust is a shallow and cheap counterfeit for love that never satisfies the soul, only quiets the body for a moment. The pleasure and joy that comes from indulged lust is short-lived and shallow, but a life of true love is the richest and most satisfying life possible. The feeling of worth and importance that comes with the accolades of the crowd is a counterfeit for true confidence or self-worth rooted in the fact that you are the beloved of the Creator, fearfully and wonderfully made.
We see the difference between true love and public celebrity clearly in how quickly the public can turn on its celebrities. How quickly the press jumps on the offensive comment or tasteless wardrobe decision or the extra 10 pounds hanging over the bathing suit of the celebrities that we claim to love and respect.
How quickly the beloved pastor becomes the hated pastor when news of his affair surfaces. This demonstrates to us that it was not actually that pastor that we loved, but our ideas of what we thought he was. When he falls short of our expectations for him, we gladly feed his carcass to the wolves.
We do this because it is not the human beings that we direct our adoration towards that are the actual object of our adoration. It is the fame or importance that they embody in our minds. They are the objects that represent the importance, power, and love that we want for ourselves.
I’m certainly not claiming immunity to the allure of the currency of celebrity or the praise of others in my own life. As silly as I may believe all of the fanfare and objectification may be, there still was something pretty exciting about being nominated for the Grammy awards last year.
Some of our friends and family had come with us to LA for the awards. By this point in my life and career, I had already learned of the folly of putting too much stock in people’s opinions, but come on, this was the Grammy’s! That’s like the Super Bowl for a musician. We were nominated for two Grammy awards! This was an honor that very few musicians ever get. I realized that as well, so as all of us got dressed up pretty and went to the ceremony, I really tried to not get my hopes up for winning. I reminded myself that it was just people’s opinions and that it shouldn’t have any bearing on my contentment or happiness.
But then they started reading the names…
There is something about being in a room full of your heroes, the people that you are guilty of buying into the illusion of fame with yourself…and knowing that your name is potentially about to be called for winning of the biggest honor that your heroes and peers can possibly bestow upon you. A Grammy award.
“No, but it’s such an honor to just be nominated.” I remind myself.
“Yeah, but to win would be pretty awesome…” My other self replies.
“Don’t get too worked up about it.”
“Michael….this is the Grammy’s! Do you even know what you are going to say if you win?”
“Well, I haven’t thought too much about it because I didn’t want to get my hopes up…”
“Dude, what is wrong with you? Do you want to look like an idiot in front of the people that you most respect in the world? In front of your friends and family that flew all the way out here to be with you in this moment?”
I asked Lisa for a pen and paper, and started scribbling out some notes on who I should thank if we won. In the process of this, I really began to visualize myself walking up to that podium. I imagined really holding that same golden gramophone that people like the Miles Davis, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson were ecstatic to win.
I looked at the program and saw that they were almost to our category. My heart started beating so loud and fast that I almost certain people around me could hear it. Quest Love from the Roots was sitting right in front of me, could he hear my heartbeat, my quickened breath? Did he know that I must be in this next category just from the rustling and whispering of our group right behind him?
Oh, here it is! I grab Lisa’s hand, and we look at each other with barely containable anxiety and excitement in our eyes. To hear the announcer pronounce Gungor in the list of nominees is a surreal sound. And the winner is…
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