Can you imagine living the life of a Kardashian? The glamour, the fame, the money, the complete lack of privacy? I’m not a huge fan of them, but I’m also not one to bash. They make their money doing what most celebrities already do- branding themselves and marketing to a wide, hungry audience.
Yet today, I was taken aback by what I read. Lamar Odom, famous for playing fourteen years in the NBA- but probably on everyone’s recent radar because of his marriage and split from Khloe Kardashian- is in a coma following what’s being reported as a drug-filled trip to a brothel. Lamar Odom’s life had lately been one of sadness. It was widely reported that Khloe split from him because of his addiction to drugs and depression and he recently lost his best friend who died at the young age of thirty-seven, all combined with a career that was slowly falling off. Despite all of his success- living a life that young people who dream of being in the NBA look up to- despite his world championships and marriage to a beautiful and equally famous woman, he turns to drugs and cheap sex; seemingly lost in a world where he was once hailed as a success – AN ATHLETE- someone untouchable. Money, fame, power, success do not equal happiness.
Yet, this wasn’t what shocked me. It saddened and affected me deeply, but here’s what shocked me:
I’m sure the life of an addict is a horror, but the life of being married to one, can you imagine? If you’ve watched a recent season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians you know that Lamar’s addiction terrorized and consumed Khloe’s life. She hid it for him, defended him, pleaded with him, and eventually left him for both their sake- even though she’s always confessed to still loving him and still wishing to be married to him (legally, the couple is still married, but they have been separated for some time now). This profound sense of love coming from such an unexpected place, from a Kardashian. Despite all of his infidelity and disregard for their marriage, she’s by his side in his time of need. She’s sending for his family and experiencing the hardest thing for someone to experience- watching their best friend and spouse battle with death.
Death Cab for Cutie has a song that says, “love is watching someone die,” and I guess I never realized what that meant until I got married. Marriage is a vocation where the end result is loneliness. Eventually, a spouse will die and the other is left to continue life without them. In our modern world, this is the fear, right? The fear of being alone, of experiencing the feeling of having no one left to love. This is why we turn to drugs, or porn, or on demand sex, or whatever- because it’s an easy way to feel something sort of like love without going through the ‘watching someone die’ part. Could you accept the responsibility of being the last loving set of eyes for someone to see on earth despite all of the anger and hardship they’ve brought you in life? Maybe not in the same way, and maybe not on as volatile of a scale, but this is what marriage is and this is what we’re all called to do to some extent in our vocation.
Married couples… no, I – could learn a lot from Khloe’s plight. Say what you want about the Kardashians, but I, even as a Catholic who understands the sacrifice that marriage calls us to, might not be capable of bringing my estranged in laws to Vegas to visit my perhaps dying husband who has put me through so much pain and anger. I probably wouldn’t be able to accept all of the things he did to me and stick by his side until the very end. I surely wouldn’t be able to forgive and excuse his infidelity, watching the man I love come close to death and accepting the pain and sorrow that comes along with losing someone you love. I might not be as good as a wife as Khloe is being.
The Kardashians may be living a show in the spotlight but what Khloe is doing is fulfilling her vocation in a very real way. She may not be a saint, but I can only pray that in her shoes, I would be willing to do the same. She may not be timid or modest or the ideal woman, but her strength and love for her husband is showing right now. I never thought I would say this about a Kardashian, but Khloe is being an example to us all.