Here’s a snippet of the bio from his website:
“Growing up, Jamar showed tremendous talent for singing as early as six years of age, but soon fell prey to the emotional problems that come with growing up in a fatherless household and became addicted to drugs to fill the missing piece. As his life began to spiral out of control, the unthinkable happened; Jamar was declared HIV-positive. Completely broken, Jamar somehow found the light in the darkest time of his life and began to turn things around.
After six years of being clean from crystal meth, Jamar auditioned for The Voice and “the rest is history,” as they say.”
You can go read more about Jamar’s singing career on his site at http://www.JamarRogers.com but I just wanted to give you a glimpse into the person I’m about to describe.
Chances are, you know some pretty cool people so if I were to labor on about how cool Jamar is, you’d probably say, “sure I know someone like that.” But wait. Before you go assuming he’s like your other awesome friends, let me explain.
Many people who rush to meet Jamar are smitten by his amazing vocals or his fame from the TV show, The Voice, where he was a finalist and solidified his chops as a legit artist. Having not watched the Voice, C and I were introduced to Jamar at church. From the very first song Jamar sang in church, C and I were taken back by his passion for his art and his love of something greater than himself. A random invitation to an event that Jamar was performing at has led to one of the most beautiful friendships that I could have ever imagined. Our connection with him was almost instantaneous, and of all things, reciprocal. As you can imagine, with a voice like his, many people clamor to befriend him (great art has a way of making us feel like we are one with the artist), but it was just something different about our encounter. Fast-forward a few months and C and I have been to multiple venues to support Jamar and selfishly soak up his amazing passion and music.
But a couple weeks ago, our lives were shaken by turn of events. Fighting an illness like HIV comes with a host of vulnerabilities that non-HIV-positive people just don’t understand. We take our health for granted, mostly our immune system as we go about our lives without thinking how a common cold or the flu would affect us. We get it, deal with it and move on. People who are HIV-positive are at an increased risk due to their immune system’s inability to process these seemingly normal threats to the body.
It happened. Jamar got sick. He went into the hospital and two and a half weeks later he is still there.
Before you ask a million questions and respond with something like, “how sad,” let me shift your mindset and tell you how these last few weeks have changed my life.
While I was away on a work trip, all of this transpired. I was receiving daily texts from C and Jamar’s mom, Mama D, on his health status. They weren’t good reports. They were things like, “The doctor’s don’t know what to do,” “he feels like he is dying,” “they are moving him to ICU and now he’s on a breathing machine.” All the while, Mama D is staying with C, while I am in NOLA working. I wanted to run home, to come to the rescue, to be there to help the situation, to figure it out, to make it all better. But that wasn’t God’s plan for me. I had to be still, I had to be patient, to wait, to trust, but more importantly to pray. I’m not a good prayer (say what you will), but this time of testing forced to me trust God’s timing and his plan even when I didn’t want to. The last thing I wanted was for Jamar to die and I not get to say goodbye or thank him for his amazing influence in my life. It was all about me. God was saying, “no child, this isn’t about you.”
I finally got to see Jamar this past Sunday and what a marvelous time it was. While his health is improving, we’re not sure how long he will be in the hospital. But let me tell you, you wouldn’t know it. Other than the masks we have to wear as a formality of protection, you wouldn’t know that he’s still fighting for his life. His love for people, his will to stay strong, his story of love, redemption, survival, and trusting in a bigger mission for his life have increased my faith and stretched me to a place that I could have never imagined for myself.
The snippet from his bio is only a half of a fraction of what he’s been through, but despite it all, he remains steadfast in his commitment to God. That, my friends, is the purpose of our newfound friendship with Jamar. It’s not the beautiful music we get to listen to in our cars or the sweet gigs we get to attend, but its the way he exemplifies what it means to be a light in a world that is so eager to douse the flame of faith.
Thank you Jamar for your example. You are a Hero.