Time Traveling With The Jackson Five
There were 70,000 plus people gathered for the concert. It was momentous. It was history. Lasers and pyrotechnics. Screaming fans and musicians too cool to be in Knoxville, TN for any other reason than a performance. It was not cool for me to be there, though. This was the Jackson Five. This was the Farewell Tour in 1983. And for a guy trying to fit in with the kids that listened to Motley Crew, Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Ozzy Osbourne, it was a bizarre place to be.
I did not know a lot about Michael Jackson or his brothers. I had not heard much of their music. But, still, there was an excitement in the air. The stadium where the concert was held could seat over 100,000 people for a sporting event, but I am unsure about the attendance that night. What I do know is simply this. They must have been, and were that night, some bad dudes. Say what you want about the Jackson Five, but those guys were good at what they did.
Music has always fascinated me. What fascinates me more these days, is relationships. I am not an expert in either, but I enjoy both. Funny how music can take you back to a point in time, and give you the feelings you had, when you were in a relationship. Relationships with those you dated, those you hung out with, teachers, parents, anyone, really. I heard a Michael Jackson song tonight and thought about that concert. Then, I thought about how I got to that concert.
I did not buy a ticket. I would not have bought a ticket. My friend Chris Osborne had an extra ticket and invited me to go. I did. It was memorable. I am sure the tickets were expensive and I am sure he could have asked anyone that would have gone. There are things in life that go unnoticed until later in that same life. The friendships I shared as a student in middle and high school are among the unnoticed things in my life. Chris Osborne is in so many of my good memories, it embarrasses me not to have kept up with him more.
Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is this goofy Facebook, where you see people’s thoughts and pictures and mistake them for relationships. Maybe it is that I have time to devote now, to being thankful for my life up to this point in time. Whatever the reason, my thoughts go back to the days when what I was to do was hang out, sleep, eat, and do it all over again. And when I compare those days to the days I live in now, I do not long for a different day than I have been given, but I do long to share that feeling with my loved ones. To replicate in some small way the notion that being busy is not always being alive.
Here, I should make the reader aware, that I am preaching a sermon to myself. Over the years I have lost the ability to “turn it off”. I typically do not enjoy spending time doing nothing in particular. For the love of all that is holy, I find myself scheduling spontaneous time. How that makes sense to me, I will never know. I try to do things with an openness to what the Universe will bring, but I also want, in some ways, to believe I am in control. How is it, I wonder, that we are in control of our destiny in one way, and able to be blessed, in another way?
I can still feel what it was like to be lying on the carpet of an upstairs room in Chris’ house, in front of a D&D board, while Cyndi Lauper sang “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Try explaining that to all your headbanging friends. But I also remember waking up one morning before any of my friends, and quietly walking down the stairs, and finding Chris’s dad sitting in a chair. Maybe he was drinking coffee, or maybe he was reading the paper. I do not know what he said to me and I do not know what I might have said to him. But I remember we had a conversation. And the fact that we talked, mattered to me.
I remember those times. The Jackson Five, the D&D, the conversations that might have been about nothing, and the headbangers. And I am better for having lived those experiences. I am better for remembering how great those times were. I am not living in the past. I am using my present moment to be thankful for the moments in the past. Sometimes philosophers and teachers confuse being in the moment with only thinking about present things. If you decide to travel through time in your mind, I might recommend a few things.
Do it without guilt. Remember the past. Do not generate guilt for yourself when you do. Revisit your good times more than you do your bad. Always do it with an appreciation and not with a longing for what once was. Memories are not a problem as long as we know they are not always accurate, they are figments of the present imagination, and they can be changed. Yes. I recommend changing every one of your memories in a way that makes you feel good about what happened. Whose to know?
Safe travels. Use your travels for good. Enjoy your time. Bring your joy back to the present. Leave your troubles for time to sort out. Smile for no reason at all. And peace to you. The you that is in the present, and also the you that is in the past. And whether you travel with the Jackson Five, or Judas Priest, give yourself some grace. Know that we are as goofy now as we think we were goofy then. The secret to living in the present is not wiping the impressions of the past away, but it is to know the only thing you can control is the present.
Our lives are an unfolding. We have nothing to do but allow it to grow. To let the light of Love into our decisions. To share what grace we might have received. To afford others the same light we have received. The nature of the Divine is to expand. We can fight the expansion or we can create expansion with the help of the Creator. Memories are made with the smallest of decisions and in the shortest of moments. Why not live today, with the intention and expectation, that tomorrow, today will be a good memory?