The Soul is Not Built for Fame

In the ancient wisdom of Ecclesiastes the skeptical Preacher penned words describing “life under the sun.”

Vanity, vanity, it’s all vanity.

Life can often feel meaningless, pointless, and difficult some days. What is the point of marriage, work, childbearing, living, and dying? Why not take an early checkout and call it a day?

Chris Cornell, the 90’s rocker and frontman for Soundgarden, apparently committed suicide a couple days ago. Cornell added to the list of recent pop culture icons who took their lives: Robin Williams, Prince, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lee Thompson Young, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, and further back, Marilyn Monroe, and Ernest Hemingway.

A theme emerges with the list. The tragedy of life under the sun.

The soul is not built for fame.

Only in the last hundred years do we have this new phenomenon of… pop star, teen idol, famous people, and these mythical creatures, that grace the stage, screen, and visit our living rooms.

I don’t want to make light of the deaths of these pop stars because they are brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends to many.

Not the point.

My point simple.

The soul not wired for the kind of fame these men and women were exposed to.

Did they know this?

Maybe, maybe not. When these pop stars were growing up singing songs, writing music, and developing their chops in high school theater, did they do it for fame and fortune?

Not if you listen closely to interviews of famous people. They sang, danced, acted, and created, because they loved expressing themselves. Given gifts and abilities from their Maker which made them happy.

Of course, there’s an exception to the rule; and many would rather have the fame and money.

But when the crowds show up everything changes. When people pay millions of dollars to entertain them, the soul takes a hit. It’s no longer about using our gifts and talents to express ourselves.

Our operating beliefs of what brings happiness and joy shift. It’s no longer the high of using the gifts to make people happy. No longer the joy of making the art.

Maybe these icons grew up with little money. Their beliefs shifted when the money, houses, cars, and people treated them like gods. They believed money would bring the lasting happiness they craved. Maybe the applause was the key drug. Who knows?

The soul is not hard wired for fame.

In the trap and allure of fame we take on a god-like persona. We think success, money, and fame is some kind of cosmic open door where we can do whatever we want. The fame will keep delivering on its promises. But it doesn’t and can’t. Fame has a mouth but doesn’t speak and hands but can’t touch.

Fame is an idol of the worst kind.

I don’t know if these pop stars thought they were god-like. But when the laughter and cheers died out, and they found themselves in honest, and quiet moments.

I’m willing to believe they knew fame was a liar, and couldn’t deliver on her promises. She had a mouth and couldn’t speak and hands but couldn’t touch. Couldn’t touch the deepest parts of the soul.

Fame and money and stuff can’t satisfy the soul. I think deep in our bones we know it’s true. I want to believe Chris Cornell knew this… But maybe thought a little more fame would give what he needed. Can’t say.

I know this.

We’re made for another world.

Our souls not made for fame. They’re made for love.

A warning not only for the pop icon among us. It’s a caution for the student, pastor, plumber, mother, and father, who think fame in all her forms will deliver the goods.

The soul is built for love. A love that never can be quenched regardless of how much fame comes our way.

RIP Chris Cornell.


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