I had initially planned to write a short story about David in celebration of his birthday. This was after I read a comment that was made about David which needless to say wasn’t very complimentary. It showed a distinct lack of thought and empathy on the part of the person who made the comment and it disappointed me not neccessarily because of what this person said but I felt that she of all people could appreciate the place where David was coming from. After all she herself had been raked over the coals by the press when her personal laundry had so publicly been washed. During that episode in her life she ran the gauntlet of negative publicity and I greatly admired her strength in confronting the chorus of negative perception from the public. But here she was subjecting David to the same callousness and denigration. My earlier respect for her took a nose dive.
To me she was just being lazy towing the same line as everybody else. So I wanted to write a story to present the other side of the coin and to show that her perception of David was a shallow and superficial understanding of the real person. But alas I’m afraid that story will have to wait awhile as to my great disappointment and frustration, it’s been much, much harder than I anticipated. So as I told my ‘editor’ earlier, the deadline for this particular masterpiece will have to be extended for a little while more. Be that as it may, I realise that the greatest story to be told is right in front of me in the form of David James Archuleta. A young man that has so ensconced himself into our hearts and minds that it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when we didn’t have him in our lives. We’ll have to timeline this phenomenon as BD – before David and AD – after David.
In 1991 the Gulf war had just taken place and the world was thrown into a dangerous whirlpool of military antagonisms, Yugoslavia broke up and it’s constituent republics subsequently descended into civil war and ‘ethnic cleansing’ was a horrifying new term to enter the lexicon of human atrocities. The Soviet Union was dissolved thus ending it’s domination over Eastern Europe and Rajiv Gandhi followed his mother to the grave in a suicide bomb attack. Fittingly enough, in that year the Grammys for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year were awarded to “Another Day In Paradise” and “From A Distance” respectively.
It certainly wasn’t the best of times and God must have been shaking his head at the follies of the human race. But then, in the words of the Bible, God “so loved the world……” and, at the risk of sounding too preachy here , I think he probably thought that it was high time he sent another little shining star to be amongst us just as he did with all the Mahatmas, Mother Teresas and Martin Luther Kings of earlier times. These luminaries came into this world of humble origins but left a profound legacy through their words and deeds. By daring to dream and bring fundamental change upon the world they left it a much better place then when they came into it. For surely from a distance God could see that we were in terrible shape and so somewhere in Miami, Florida a young couple that was blessed with a child a year earlier would see him, 17 years later, begin to carve out his particular niche.
We are all children of God or the Universe however you may wish to put it but I do believe that certain progenies are blessed and destined to have more than a cursory effect on humankind. I’m not yet equating David to the towering eminences mentioned earlier but just as they have left an indelible mark upon our human psyche and civilisation, so too will David in time to come. Just as they have put their shoulders against the millstone of public opinion and strived against odds in their time so too has David and probably will continue to do so. God sends angels among us every now and then to prod us in the right direction and to remind us all that we are part of the same divine source. I’m not saying that David is the new messiah but that he definitely exerts a powerful spell over us all. There’s an undeniable light that shines from within and it shines without forethought or contrived manipulation. It is as natural as the sunlight that sweeps over the mountains in the morning to bathe us with its warming rays. His influence on the way we feel about and the way we want to behave towards our fellow human being is not insignificant. By his example we bear witness to the fact that innocence, kindness and tenderness is not passe and indeed we discover anew that we are very much in need of such basic human instincts. He touches the lives of people in profound ways that even David himself would scarcely believe. Such sentient beings are rare and special – enlightened souls that moves us with their soul and inner light. To me it doesn’t matter if that person is raw and inexperienced such as David or weather beaten and worldly wise like Mahatma Gandhi but it is their capacity to stir us into action and to bring about the genesis of a deep seated, lasting personal renaissance that is truly inspirational. It is a power that manifests itself unbidden but is all encompassing in it’s scope and influence. Quite suddenly we question ourselves on our priorities as we strive to be a better person all because of a singular example.
In Mormon beliefs angels are emmisaries, sent to minister to humankind and tend to our salvation. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Jeff and Lupe named their eldest son David for just as three wise men followed that certain star more than two millenia ago to a manger and bore witness to a miracle, we have in our midst an angel that fills us with the same exaltation and divine spark not through theological or philosophical precepts but through the art of song and music and the sheer magnetic force of his personality – spiritual connections that are equally as uplifting and inspiring.
Angels do walk the Earth I believe and in David’s footprints we see honesty and authenticity without subterfuge and deceit. By following in David’s wake, we are inexorably drawn into his worldview and we recognize in ourselves the same innate capacity to love, empathise and be compassionate. We share in his aspirations and motivations; his deep reverance and respect for the world around him; his insistence on walking the straight and narrow path of the righteous and we act on this gladly with an open heart at the same time that we revel in the joys of his musicality. It is a journey of togetherness as the person that he is and the music that he makes connects us all in a warm wonderful embrace of love, camaraderie and selfless thoughts.
Happy Birthday, dearest David. You are precious and we hold you close to our hearts. This human journey that we’re travelling with you – one that brings together different forces and cultures – promises to be a thrilling, exhilirating adventure of discoveries and evolution as we are carried aloft on the wings of an angel.
Merry Christmas everyone.