David Bowie was dying. I don’t know how many knew it; I certainly did not know it. But he had one more album to share with us. So as he was dying of cancer, he worked to complete it, and it released just days before he died. He had no way to know how it would affect us, his fans, the whole world. If he was like most of us, he didn’t completely believe how much we loved him. How hard would it be to believe that most of the modern Western world actually loves you? But then again, how much of him did we really see? How much do we see of one another?
We are, ultimately, a mystery to each other. And one day, we will each, in our turn, leave everybody behind. And we will never really be able to know our legacy. But, we all have a chance to do something we love, whether we get paid for it, and whether or not we think anybody actually sees it. We all have a chance to love someone, and something. To put it more simply: we all have the chance to love.
David Bowie was a god to me in my teen years. His daring inspired me to be myself just a little more. He informed much of my awakening sense of gender and style. I was thrilled that someone could dress like him, be like him, and be so striking and just completely accepted on a broad scale. He made edginess attractive. I can’t even say his name without saying the whole thing: David Bowie.
So, learning about David Bowie’s death knocked me completely sideways as I sat down to breakfast and checked up on the social media. Gravitational forces misaligned in the wake of one of the biggest planets in the cosmos. I finished breakfast, and tried to meditate. But I couldn’t make myself rouse the courage to commit myself to another day. Everything suddenly seemed like a needless, painful, hassle. Suddenly the idea of giving myself to the world just seemed pointless. I found myself comparing myself to this fabulous space-man and wondering: What possible good can I ever do in the world? So I went back to bed.
When I got up again twenty minutes later, I found a lot of noise on the social media about Lazarus; which was apparently David Bowie’s last music video. I was inspired by the realization was still working up to his last moments, as I think the video makes clear. He was doing what he loved, even though he would never know how it was received. But the reception wasn’t the point. The point was to give what he had to give.
I will never really know the effect of my attitudes and actions. I can choose to commit myself to the basic goodness in all beings, or I can choose not to do so. The choice presents itself every moment, especially in the morning when I sit down to practice. But the choice is just a choice, and having made my choice I won’t get brownie points; I won’t see the effect of that choice. All I have is the choice. So what do I want? Do I want to love, do I want to give of myself, or don’t I? My last song could be this one right now; what do I want to leave behind?
I love David Bowie. He is gone, and I love him. I am inspired by his life, his daring, his legacy. And I won’t let his passing and the pain of knowing our vulnerability be an excuse to stop loving him, or us.
On a more zany note, apparently David Bowie had a spider named after him. I give you, the heteropoda davidbowie. Isn’t it cute?