On yesterday, we were shocked by the sudden passing away of Whitney Houston. I am still trying very hard to process it all. I did not know Whitney Houston personally, but there was still an impact on my life. Ironically, while I cannot recall the show I was watching, but I remember her performing on a daytime television talk show that came on right after the soap operas went off. I was a child, but was in awe of this young woman whose voice commanded the attention of all within range. She graced the stage with such poise and confidence. She was not scantily clad, there were no bells and whistles necessary to enhance her performance; she just stood there and sang. She stood there in the authority of her vocals and sang. She stood there and the gift God blessed her with was on display and none could deny its power. From that moment, I was a fan.
When the phone calls and text messages started to pour in, I was in such a state of disbelief. I turned on the television and my computer wanting to discover that this was a cruel hoax. Even though it was confirmed, I still sat waiting for some announcement that a mistake was made. I shared with a friend that I know some will think me over spiritual, but I cannot but help but to consider the forces that were warring for Whitney’s soul. This woman was clearly anointed with that beautiful voice, but she grappled with the vices and vicissitudes of life. Her songs touched many in ways that some sermons preached from the pulpit have not, but those virulent things that oftentimes come along with fame and fortune overtook her. From the number of people (self included) who stopped what they were doing to reflect on her life, it is apparent that she had an impact on many. Unfortunately some took this occasion to highlight the negative/painful moments in her life. I don’t deny that she had struggles, but she was still someone’s daughter, mother, friend – she was still human. The difference between Whitney and the rest of us is that her “stuff” was lived out on a very public stage. We are all giving the freedom of choice. However, we don’t really know until faced with the challenge whether or not we will give in to the pressure and make the choice that will leave us with regret.
I spent some time in prayer and meditation with God asking what is it that I am I to take away from this moment. I do believe there are some lessons we can learn. The first is obvious; we must all number our days because time is indeed short. The second lesson is that we must be vigilant about protecting and nurturing relationships (including fostering a healthy relationship with our own selves). Where reconciliation, restoration, healing and/or forgiveness need to take place let it. The third lesson is we must be grateful for and aware of the grace and mercy of God that covers us and keeps us in the midst of our own struggles.
I pray that Whitney has found the peace that she could not find in this world. I pray that God brings comfort and healing to her mother (Cissy), her daughter (Bobbi Kristina) her ex-husband (Bobby Brown). I can hear the gasp of some now, but before we judge and assume let’s pray. We don’t know his personal grief, regret and pain; we only see what is portrayed in the media. I pray for the host of other relatives, friends and fans who are grieving. I pray God extend both compassion and conviction upon those who would relish in judgment and condemnation. Ms. Houston, no one will ever be able to say it better than you, for you sang it best, but I (along with millions of adoring fans) will always love you!!!
Abounding in Love and Growing in Grace,