I was on the bus coming home from an away basketball game with all my high school teammates late one night and happened to be sitting by myself on a bench seat toward the front. The bus was quiet, as is usually the case after a loss. My head was against the window when I suddenly heard a voice. “This seat saved?”
Connie was a cheerleader, but not just any cheerleader. She was the most beautiful—the kind of girl I would normally stay away from, what with my nonexistent self-confidence in those days. Yet, here she was about to share a seat with me. I sat up, and so did my pulse.
“No,” I said, as I made room. Connie took a seat, and without hesitation, began to talk to me like we were old chums. I was rather shocked. As we chatted, I found she was surprisingly open, especially for a varsity cheerleader talking to a junior varsity player, and she seemingly had no problem revealing a little about what made her tick.
“I want to be famous one day,” she said.
At that, I responded with something that I truly don’t think she had ever given any thought. “Why?”
She paused for a moment to mull it over. “Well…what else is there?”
What may seem like a silly comment by a teenager, really isn’t.
What may seem like a silly comment by a teenager, really isn’t. How many famous, important, and well-respected people have put a dream up on a pedestal and aimed for it knowing, or at least, believing that in its attainment was joy and peace and happiness? Because…what else is there? And how many of them came to find that when they finally got there, that contentment and insulation from the problems of life, wasn’t?
A fairly recent victim of this kind of thinking, Kate Spade, springs to mind. A friend of mine grew up with the Spade family and confirmed how miserable and desperate she was, even though her estimated worth on the day she committed suicide was 200 million dollars. Anthony Bourdain comes to mind, too. Here was a beloved star who made it to the top of the world to find fame and fortune…and overwhelming disillusionment.
One day YouTube offered me a video entitled: Celebrities Who Committed Suicide. When I finished it, YouTube offered several more compilation videos on the same topic. I searched the internet and found lists of them; people who burned brightly, reached their perceived goal in life to find it was nothing more than a movie backlot façade. There was nothing there. It reminds me of something I heard a pastor say one Sunday morning. “I think the cruelest thing that can happen to a person is for them to realize all their dreams.”
Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
What our hearts seek is not here, on this earth. It is heavenly. I wish I would have told Connie that. I wish I would have given her the answer to her question. Jesus.