Reflections on the Passing of Chris Cornell

The list of celebrities that take their life by their own hand seems only to increase. Today we wonder in shock why one of the most memorable singers of our generation would take their own life in the midst of seemingly unstoppable success.
The news of Chris Cornell’s death immediately took me back to 1994 when Nirvana fans received in shock the news that emerging rock genius Kurt Cobain had died by his own hand. Grunge music had barely got started before its maestro was nowhere to be found. It seemed the evolution of rock had suffered a catastrophic setback, we were left with Ice T thumping on about running around shooting cops in an act of murderous rebellion. Hip-hop surely boosted off to new grounds of bling and gangland shootings, while those of us who preferred a more gravelly approach to music had to be content with the alternatively profound messages of R.E.M and Radiohead.
Yet, something happened, something grew out of the ashes of despair that teenagers all over the world had largely connected with initially through Cobain, and Seattle was at the heart of that metamorphosis. In its arms Cobain had passed, but only a few years before this the city had watched over the birth of one of the key proponents of grunge’s continuing legacy: Chris Cornell.
Cornell’s voice wrenched respect from millions as it led grunge fans to the truest forms of the art of rock through active involvement in live bands such as Soundgarden, Audioslave and of course his own studio albums. Even his connections to the other truely iconic voice of grunge, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, make Cornell’s contributions to the world of rock music legendary.
We have no idea what went wrong, and there is no point looking in the media for the answer, because they don’t know and even if they did they’d probably present it wrong! We do know though that success is no substitute for happiness and depression is not cured by money and fame. I don’t know what Cornell was thinking when he took his own life just as I don’t know what Cobain was thinking either, but I can guess one simple thing and that is that neither of them wanted to be in a place of darkness.
Connection with people who speak words of life into your own life is vital, as is reaching out to those who need support. Professional support is appropriate and our religious beliefs should never let us think anything different. There is one verse that came to me when I was thinking about this tragic event and that is John 8:12, which says, ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”’ Now don’t mistake this verse for some sort of promise of heaven on earth, being in Jesus doesn’t automatically stave off depression – sorry if that offended your religious mindset but its true. What being in Jesus does though is give you access to the person who most cares about you, the one who went to the heart of darkness to provide a way out of the darkness for you. Being in Jesus gives you someone to turn to in the midst of your struggles, someone who listens perfectly and who made a place for you to go to when your mortal life is through. Jesus is the one who can lead us out of darkness and into the light of eternity, because Jesus himself is the Higher Truth.

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