This coming week, April 5th, 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of the suicide of one Mr. Kurt Cobain.
Cobain was 27 years old–
I was 16 years old.
I was crushed!
Kurt Cobain for those that don’t know was the lead singer of the Grunge band, “Nirvana.” In 1994 for me music was all about Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Doors, and Celine Dion. Yes, that is right I said Celine Dion…there is a story to that last one, but I’ll spare you of it.
Nirvana though was truly at the top of my music love list! I was an acerbic kid and the in-your-face lyrics that Kurt Cobain as the lead singer and songwriter produced resonated with my bitter life.
I had grown-up hearing the stories of the 60’s, always feeling that I had been born in the wrong era, but now I felt like this man, Kurt Cobain, was our generations Janis Joplin or Jim Morrison. And I guess he truly was since he/his music was loud, in your face, and just like that–dead.
While he didn’t die of a drug overdose like Joplin & Morrison, Cobain died of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound. The autopsy report revealed that if he hadn’t killed himself with a gun-shot blast he would have been dead from drugs shortly anyway as his body was so full of them his heart would have likely stopped that same day.
Twenty years ago when I heard the news I remember camping out in front of the TV for days taking in every single story from, what was then truly a music channel, MTV.
You see I wasn’t just a fan of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”; in fact I resented those individuals that acted upset by Cobain’s death but really only knew that one song. NO! I was a true fan, I even had a cassette tape of “Bleach” their independently released album.
Twenty years ago when I heard the news I remember being almost proud of Cobain. His suicide made him even more heroic to my teenage mind. I thought, “Cobain had had enough. Society had been “raping” him so long and he finally said ‘that’s it, you can’t touch me anymore.'” (this was the language I would use in reference to his song “Rape Me”).
Twenty years ago when I heard the news I remember being affirmed in my own desire to die. I thought going out like Cobain would be somehow satisfying, I was I guess you could say caught-up in the Werther effect or Suicide Contagion of Cobain’s death.
Twenty years ago when I heard the news I turned on Nirvana and got high in honor of Cobain.
Twenty years ago I gave no thought to the the 2-year-old daughter Cobain was leaving behind.
Twenty years later my perspective has changed…
My new perspective can be summed-up in three thoughts:
- Jesus’ heart hurt(s) because He loves Kurt Cobain and died for him, just like He died for the rest of us. This is a truth that should resonate in the mind of every Christian at the knowledge of each and every death in this world. We should not become callus to death, the greatest evidence of our greatest enemy, and we definitely should never glorify it! Jesus died, in part to put an end to all death.
- Kurt Cobain reached the final destination that all folk that don’t understand and accept the love of Jesus will eventually arrive at. No, maybe all won’t take their lives like Cobain did; but all, apart from Jesus, will at some point in their quiet moments, in their alone times, in their solitude feel a deep emptiness that they believe nothing but death can take away.
- While I was mourning the death of Kurt Cobain twenty-years ago, Jesus was orchestrating things so that I would choose to worship a different hero that gave of His life freely rather than ending it selfishly. That is a pretty amazing truth. If you had told that 16 year old kid that He would one day be a preacher in love with Jesus I would have had a very hard time believing you. It was at that time much easier to believe my ultimate reality would fall more along the lines of Mr. Cobain’s. I praise Jesus while I was wandering aimlessly after the world of Cobain, Jesus was wandering not so aimlessly after me.