On July 12, 2020, in Calabasas California, news broke out of Benjamin Keough’s sudden death. Only 27, the son of Lisa Marie Presley and grandson of the legendary Elvis Presley, ended his life by pointing a shotgun to his head. As mourners around the world continue to send out their heartfelt messages, the late Ben’s girlfriend, Diana Pinto and his sister Riley took to Instagram to share tributes of his life and gentle spirit. The pain is apparent in their posts on social media but one could only imagine the grief carried by his own mother, Lisa Marie Presley in this devastating time.
We can only imagine her heart plagued with questions such as, “Where is my son now?” or “What happens to Ben after death?”, and no amount of profound comforting words can heal the gaping wound of her loss at the moment. In a world where suicide has become such a taboo topic of discussion in fear of offending the bereaved, most people tend to ask, “where is the empathy in grief?”
As human beings, we all want to go to heaven in the afterlife. Behavior becomes the gauge for many things in life. Education, money, influence and power ebb into this ladder that humans strive to achieve as they age through living. Society has set a superficial cookie cutter mold of good works that allow men to believe translates into holy currency. As if somehow heaven is taking points to tally in preparation for the afterlife. This is not the message of salvation.
Looking back at Ben Keough’s life, the pressure of being a legacy to a super star exacerbates these expectations of good behavior. Ben’s uncanny resemblance to the young Elvis himself brewed an unhealthy projection upon his person that even upon landing his own record deal in music, the underlying subconscious of the public was to view Ben as another Elvis which was utterly unfair to both Ben and his own talents.
The trouble with suicide is that it has become a glamorous way out for a lot of high profile celebrities. The drama and mystery surrounding this type of death has evolved into a kind of romanticized behavior that others see it to be more appealing than the standard “good” as society has tagged works to be. The perception of life and doing good works has become so tedious to keep up with that ending it all becomes the breather. This sad reality plagues the human soul with guilt, shame and condemnation among the many other negativities it carries when the truth is, laying all these heaviness down is so readily plausible.
When we accept that by virtue of being human, we cannot attain holiness through our actions on earth, we are opened into a freedom from the tiring race of good works. When we believe in God and that His love transforms the renewing of our minds, the bondage of sin is broken in our lives and our natural inclination as people is not to lean on our self-righteousness but to glean from the God-righteousness that is offered through the cross.
Today we reach out to mothers who have lost their children to suicide like Lisa Marie Presley and comfort them in the assurance that heaven does not define people by their last act on earth or by their acts during their lifetime. This whole concept of living a good enough life to earn our way to deserve salvation is a lie that we’ve been fed to believe. Grace is a gift we can never earn, that is why it can only be given and is referred to as salvation. If we all were perfect in our ways, what is there to need saving? But we are all human and we all make a mess of life one way or another.
Here at Heart Transformation, we help each other in setting our hearts and minds not to behave better but to believe better and we understand that we can only achieve this through LOVE.