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Wow … Really?

Two months ago, I was reviewing Instagram and Facebook posts and the thought that hit me was “Wow … really?” There it was — the notice that Chick Corea passed away “from a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently.” Some of you may not know Chick’s artistry, but his compositions and incredible piano interpretations; his partnerships with incredible jazz, classical, and pop musicians (Herbie Hancock, I’m talking about you, too); and his ever giving, ever sharing nature to bring joy to the world through his music will be missed in ways words cannot express. If you have the opportunity and want to find a smile on your face, view a few of his numerous joyful YouTube videos.

We so frequently have that “Wow” moment, a sense of loss when we read about some famous person that we have never met, yet somehow feel we know. Why is that? What is it about these public celebrities that make us feel that way? I think of the severe sense of loss I felt when Chadwick Boseman died of a cancer that he had fought against valiantly for years, but of which I had no knowledge of. How could the death of this distant person whom I had only seen on movie and TV screens move me so much? More importantly, why did I have that feeling of having lost a friend?

Our perspectives shape and govern our lives. We like to talk about truth and facts but, in reality, it is our perspective of our environment and circumstances that forms our version of truth and reality. We perceive our surroundings and place that perception into the box created by our life experiences and build a story that becomes OUR truth. These perceptions can be misleading when we gather and accept unverifiable observations as truth because some great or famous person espouses them. They can be extremely harmful when removed from the general reality as seen by the actions in January 2021 at our Capitol in Washington DC.

What am I trying to say? We often accept the lies of our perceptions rather than taking the time to accurately observe the people we work and live with, the surroundings we live in, and the effects of our actions on the surrounding community. We are frequently more willing to accept fantasy presented in movies, books, social media or TV rather than taking the time to truly and accurately perceive the people around us. This becomes really problematic when we do this to people who are close to us: family, friends, coworkers. It's so easy to form misconceptions that turn these relationships away from value and investment and lead them into superficiality and insignificance.

Are we going to treat those we live and work beside with as much honor and devotion as we treat celebrities? This is a very important question. All of us want to find and invoke value in our lives and relationships. But there is a cost to this — exposing our hearts to others so that we might share who we are and, subsequently, receive from them who they truly are. It’s so much easier to transfer our feelings and emotions to our fantasy media relationships. When we are truly open to real people in our lives, we can either be blessed and encouraged or attacked and hurt. C. S. Lewis said it this way in The Four Loves:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

Yes, what we're really truly talking about is love. Only love allows us to open ourselves to others in a way that enables us to drop our facades and be seen as we really are. But love also makes us vulnerable. That’s the price of living a real life with real people who are as flawed as we are. I think I will continue to see news of some celebrity’s misfortune and feel sympathy. Yet God’s love calls us beyond that, to a place of relationship with others that develops true empathy leading to support and compassion.

It's only in that way that we ever truly know each other.

Listening Library: Together (We’ll Get Through This by Steven Chapman)

and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.

(1 Thessalonians 3:12 ESV)


[Verse 1]

I can see the panic in your eyes

And I know you can see it in mine

We've been through some crazy things before

But nothin' like this

You know I've always got a lot to say

But this has left me nothin' but afraid

And I've got one thing I'm holdin' on to

And it's your hand 'cause I believe


Together, we'll get through this

Together, no matter what it is

There's no valley too deep, no river too wide

No mountain too steep we can't climb

Together, we got all we need

Together, just watch and see

We're gonna make it come what may

Nothing can break us if we stay together

[Verse 2]

I know it's hard to fight an enemy

When the sky is too dark to see

And we can even start to believe

We're fighting with each other

But if we really look deep enough

I believe that we can find the love

And when this storm has finally passed (Finally passed)

We'll see that all we have is what we have



Get to the other side

We'll stay together


We're gonna get to the other side

You and I, you and I

We'll look back from the other side

Knowin' we made it together

We're gonna get to the other side

You and I, you and I

We'll look back from the other side

Knowin' we made it



We'll get through this together

If we stay

We've gotta stay together

Written by: Steven Curtis Chapman

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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May 25, 2022

Chris, you are the smartest person I know. I love your heart of compassion.

Mike Rich


In Our Arms

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