I went for a walk with my sister yesterday, and we talked a lot about next week's Royal Family Kids' Camp. We exchanged jokes about the trials of acting happy-go-lucky while running on two hours of sleep, listening to children scream and belch and cry, and managing crises from broken hearts to broken skin. We discussed returning campers we've both known, loved, and pretended to love, both of us laughing all the way. But somewhere in our talk, my mood turned sour, as it usually does after meditating on RFKC. It's easy when you're thinking about the skinned knees and ice cream fights to think of the campers as regular ol' annoying kids, but at the end of the day, they're regular kids who've been abused. Someone out there was able to look these little girls and boys in the wide eyes, and knowingly cause them some kind of pain. I hate, hate, hate crying, so my natural defense mechanism kicked in at that point in the conversation. I said something mean. "Child abusers are among the most wretched of all human beings," I told Kelly, scowling. "I hope anyone who's ever done something like that dies. I wish death upon them. People like... like Michael Jackson. I hope they die."
That's right. The day before Michael Jackson died, I said the words, "I hope Michael Jackson dies."
Obviously, I never met the man, and obviously, nothing I thought or said yesterday caused his death, but I can't help but feel a deep sense of guilt. While I think the media has a habit of overreacting (I heard a newscaster say tonight, "We shall always remember where we were when the death of the Prince of Pop was announced," as if this is some kind of national tragedy on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11), Michael Jackson made some good music, and he made a lot of people happy. And, more importantly, he was a person. Whether or not he legitimately committed any crime against children (I selfishly believe wholeheartedly that he did, but as I wasn't there, who am I to really determine the truths of someone else's life?), he was a person tainted by pressure and Hollywood and health. No matter what he did or didn't do in his lifetime, his death-- like all deaths-- is worthy of mourning.
Despite my frequent jesting, I believe that all people are primarily good. Despite the unpopularity of my ideas, I can't justify that one crime or sin is greater than any other. In my mind, and in my religion (I consider myself a nondenominational Christian, and I sort of do my own thing spiritually), Mother Teresa and Charles Manson are equals. I've met too many people in too many situations to believe in the ranking of souls, which is why I have difficulty accepting the concept of hell. How can God, who doesn't work on a linear timeline, who's been around before there were days and will be around after there's no universe, who creates each and every person differently and individually... how can this unconditionally-loving God choose some people over others? They say that God makes us, but then gives us the choice to accept or deny him. But if God knows our destinies before we're even born, why would he create people who will never make the cut?
Before I get responses of both kinds, I'd like to address two things right up front: 1) I am by no means denouncing religion or claiming that I have a better grasp on any idea than people who have studied theology for centuries. I have faith, I'm interested in other people who have faith, and I'm working to be tolerant of all different kinds. My questioning isn't even really doubt; I'm just trying to figure out where I stand. And 2) I'm also not blindly buying into a WASPy tradition or allowing propaganda bullshit to be shoved down my unknowing throat. My mother, though she is a serious Christian, has a very different set of beliefs from my own. And while I, admittedly, form much of my opinion based off how my dad thinks, it's not because I'm not mature enough to search on my own. My dad is a highly respected man-- brilliant and revered the state over-- and I would probably agree with his insights even if he hadn't donated to my DNA. Yeah... um, just so we're clear.
So basically, I'm feeling pretty uneasy about life in general right now. For one, I'm signing myself over to other people next week, and I have to pretend for six days like I'm not a selfish wretch for the benefit of children. For two, Jess will be in Haiti all week doing missions work, putting herself in dangerous situations and worrying me to no end. For three, I wished death upon a dead man. I'm in a weird place. I'm gonna go to bed now, I think.
Bye, guys. Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3