When To Say When
Joe Louis comes to my mind, not because I remember his career or admire the sport of boxing. I think of him because my parents talked about the way he went out.
The Limelight has to be a fabulous, enchanted place. Countless celebrities and athletes cannot seem to be out of it without a real fear of “turning to dust”. Nothing seems clear to them as the “light” begins to fade, not records, not history, not fame, fortune, or family can rate with that light.
I am a football fan and I fondly recall how Steve Young, Phil Sims, and a couple others of the era begged “to go back in” even after multiple concussions. CONCUSSIONS!!!!!!! Love of the game, lack of regard for life or just plain insanity. More recently we have seen this with Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre, the same type of desire to “go back in one more time”.
Dare I broach a favorite of so many as Michael Jackson? I dare, for Michael’s incessant need to be in the limelight, to be adored by thralls of people made him make and be subject to countless looks altering surgeries, odd lifestyles, relationship catastrophes, and medicinal addictions which ultimately would bring a too early end to his very life. A life already filled with loving and adoring fans, successes of his industry that have and could continue to go on for years, still it was not enough.
I can liken this desire to that of a drug or alcohol abuser or to one that over-eats, the benefits of proper use quickly can turn disastrous when control is lost and one runs rampant. Obsession and /or addiction become your reality. You cannot take control when you have none to possess.
When one allows others and outside forces to be the sole and/or significant guide to determine their success and self-worth, the danger of failure becomes inevitable and one puts oneself at the mercy of a source that is flighty and uncertain.
I watched some of these same athletes raise their fists to the Lord, I have heard the interviews where the glory-seekers give God all of the glory, but yet their master is NOT our Heavenly Father. God gives you peace in times of turmoil, he provides you with warmth and safety if you let him in, and He will never leave you in good times or bad.
When I see these people running toward the limelight, I know they are not in touch with the Lord. If they were the light they would be running toward would be His; their life would be fulfilled beyond the full stadiums and auditoriums, adoring fans, crowds screams. The fulfillment would come from the inside to the out not the reverse. They don’t know when to stop, because they really do not know what they are chasing. How can they ever know when they have had enough?
While this piece began with the focus being on celebrity and fame, it does touch those of us who are just “Everyday-Joes”. If one does not know when to say when; if one does not know when it is time to stop or even go in a different direction, it is simply because they are searching for the answer in the wrong place.