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George Michael, 1963-2016

I'm probably not anywhere close to the biggest George Michael fan, but his music was in my ears when I started to listen to music. I have appreciated so many songs, and some especially so, that I do feel I have lost a friend.

I will never forget seeing the footage of him standing next to Elton John and I think Sting, as they sang "The Lord Is My Shepherd" at the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales. As incongruous as it may have seemed to see two of Britain's gay icons in that moment, it was far from unwelcome.

What can I say? I really believe I could see underneath all the burdens weighing him down. His troubles aren't hard to find. But I wish we'd met. He'd have at least one person who didn't want anything from him.

It does console me to hear the stories of his great but unheralded generosity, whether a college student who got a tip worth thousands of dollars to pay a debt, or kids with cancer. I know natural virtue is just that, but who knows? One of those people could have been Jesus in disguise.

As I was telling a friend right before I heard the sad news, I pray for him. No reason to stop now. This is how I want to remember him.

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