As a society, we elevate someone to "Celebrity Status," almost worshipping the ground that they walk on.
We name them the "most beautiful," then hope to catch them gaining weight or without makeup. We wait for news of who is being paired up with whom, then designate them as the best new couple, only to crave the details as their relationship is later ripped to shreds. We insist that they be ridiculously skinny, then shake our heads in disbelief as they become anorexic. We place them on a pedestal so high that they have no chance of remaining on top, knowing that the pedestal rests on a house of phony playing cards. It appears that we build them up so we can later tear them down. In whispering circles, we mimic a mob mentality with an odd mix of sadness and glee as they crash and burn before our eyes.
Just ask Barack Obama.
Or Tiger Woods.
Or Jon & Kate.
As a society, we may just have a celebrity problem.
There is a line in a Bebo Norman song, called "Britney, I'm Sorry" that beautifully demonstrates the love/hate relationship we have with celebrities. This song was written in 2008 as Bebo caught live video footage splashed across the TV of the media pursuing Britney Spears through the streets during an obvious emotional breakdown, a moment that should have remained very private.
Britney, I'm sorry for the lies we told
We took you into our arms, then left you cold
Britney, I'm sorry for this cruel, cruel world
We sell the beauty but destroy the girl
Britney, I'm sorry for your broken heart
We stood aside and watched you fall apart
I'm sorry we told you fame would fill you up.
This song tells us more about our own state of mind than it does that of the celebrities we claim to adore. The problem is not that our idols aren't as perfect as we hoped; the problem is that we idolize them in the first place.
The truth is that celebrities are people, and although rich and beautiful, they struggle and suffer just like the rest of us. Regardless of the amount of money and resources they have at their disposal, fame does not overcome the consequences of bad decisions, sickness, critical injuries, and even death.
Ask Farrah Fawcett.
Ask Steve McNair.
Ask Ed McMahon.
Ask Natasha Richardson.
Ask Michael Jackson.
2009 has been a rough year for celebrities.
Celebrity status obviously does not guarantee a happy ending. At the very least, 2009 should serve as a reminder to those of us who remain non-famous that nothing is more precious than life and the people who live it with us on a daily basis. If we can focus our attention on the things that will matter fifty years from now, rather than the latest celebrity media blitz, we will all be better off.
If there is a lesson to be learned from this past year, it is that the only way to a happy ending is to live with no regrets, no matter who you happen to be.
Janet Morris Grimes, the author The Parent's Guide to Uncluttering Your Home, released in 2011. She launched Abbandoned Ministries to lead others to seek God, as Abba, during abandonment. For more information, visit http://janetmorrisgrimes.com or http://abbandondoned.com.