Growing up in Gary, Indiana -- not far from Michael Jackson's childhood home -- felt like the biggest irony.  On the sweet side, there was pride in sharing origins with a family that came to influence popular music all over the world.  Despite the meagerness of our little city, the Jacksons were proof that you could overcome and transcend non-privileged environments.  On the bitter side, there was shame in our high homicide rates, and disappointment that "The First Family of Soul" never saw fit to give a legacy gift of some sort to their hometown.   can create a lot of good in the world.

Whenever I consider where I came from, I can't help but also think about where I'm headed.  What, exactly, is the direction of my life?  What legacy am I in the midst of making?  Can I share the vision and fortitude of Joe Jackson who saw such profound greatness in his family's talent, that he cultivated it (albeit relentlessly) until the whole world took notice.  Is it Godly and grounded to try to defy the gravity of limitations, and admit that you want a life of big, bright service?  

This post started as, "Happy Birthday, Indiana."  I had no idea it would evolve into, "I want to be like Mike."  But I do.  There's nothing mediocre about my Creator who sometimes whispers in my ear, "Don't reach for the stars.  Be one."


The Making of a Star

It's not fame that I seek, but a grand
opportunity to shine through service.
Isn't that what follows all the buffing
and refining?  Shininess.  You blow
your warm breath on me, and then
rub-rub-rub.  The lessons and the love
are to restore me with a high-gloss
finish that glistens and reflects You.
Give me the courage to neither shrink
nor cloak the living light You put inside me.

-Erika Harris


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