I had the interesting experience a short time ago of being at a concert featuring Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. I’ve been a Kristofferson fan since the movie “A Star is Born” way back in 1976 and still held that picture of him. I was not familiar with Haggard’s music.
Kris opened the concert alone on stage with a voice that had lost it’s tenor and vibrancy that we frequently couldn’t hear. He looked very thin, frail and was a shadow of his former self; no energy or vitality. AND what amazed me was the warm welcome of the crowd and the continuing screams and yells of delight as he sang. During the song “Help Me Make It Through The Night” he quipped, “help me make it through tonight” to the delight of the audience.
The audience didn’t care that Kris had lost his voice or his passion or his vitality, they still loved him, just as he was at that moment. He didn’t have to earn their appreciation or applause. He sang several songs that evening interspersed with Haggard and his group’s performance and Kristofferson was hands down the favorite.
I left that evening thinking that I’d just seen a public and vocal demonstration of love for a long time friend and revered performer just because he was who he was. Not because he “earned” the unstoppable applause and adoration from his performance that evening. He’d already paid his dues. They loved him for “Being” who he was; it had nothing to do with what he was doing. It has given me pause to remember that we don’t have to earn love, buy love, perform for love. It’s ours for simply being who we truly are. Way to go Kris!!!