It’s been a month since she passed away, yet it seems like only yesterday.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston, August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012… The Voice.
I have attempted to write this post several times since the passing of “Auntie Whitney” but I couldn’t. I know she wasn’t a friend, a relative or an associate however she was very much a part of my life.
My earliest memory of her took place on a weekend trip with my mother and sister from our home in central Florida to Jacksonville, Florida. I was belting out every word of “Greatest Love of All” and my older sister turned around and stared at me in backseat of my mothers 78 Thunderbird and said “how do you know all the words?” and then she laughed. I remember thinking to myself as I sang the rest of the song, “God is love, and he’s in me.”
Clearly this wasn’t a “gospel/religious” song however God is too big to fit in a simple “musical genre”, and Whitney’s voice was too big to not be an instrument specifically designed by God to touch lives.
Through the years I’d ask for or buy every album Whitney made including her movie soundtracks. No other artists’ voice could make me cry and feel the way Whitney’s did… NONE! Her voice made me believe in myself, in love, in overcoming, in sisterhood and more.
So Why Is She Auntie Whitney?
Aunties are the women we emulate, rely on, seek out, adore and believe in. Aunties are almost like superheroes to little girls. Even your “bad” Auntie probably had/has some “superpower” that made you love her stronger or harder despite her pitfalls.
For Auntie Whitney, her superpowers were her tenacity and her voice.
She never blamed others for her drug use, she owned it as did she with her battles. Despite her chemical demons she still believed in something greater than herself and when she spoke of that greater being, it’s almost as if you could see the sound of one of her beautiful “hmmm’s” in the smiles of her eyes… (you may have to read that aloud to understand what I’m saying)
I don’t know, maybe you’ve never had a loved one with an addiction or condition… But I have and despite the ugliness that comes with that, there’s still this glimmer of hope that resonates from them… It’s love.
But She’s A Stranger
When iconic figures pass, people often ask why do strangers grieve the way they do… I’ll attempt to explain.
People say music is an universal language which unites all nations, tribes and races. If this is true, and I believe it is; perhaps that explains why God chose the skinny and shy young girl from Newark to blow the world away with songs of hope, faith and love.
This isn’t really coming together the way I want it to, probably because I want to believe that this is all just a bad dream although I know it is very much real.
Lastly, before I go I’d like to leave you with a post I wrote here on TSS February 13, 2011, “When The Pipes Go Out”.
“The world can chip away at you, I mean the world can really attack and try to steal you from you but GOD said… “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Sometimes we get so busy with life and living we lose track of how to live. I’m a living testament of this, as are many who will read and share this post. The beauty of all this is GOD loves us despite us. It’s easy to see people in the spot light living their lives and see them rise and fall through the years. As we watch them, we shake our heads often in disappointment and with doubtful thoughts that they will ever rise again… But GOD!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Whitney Houston. And anyone who has ever heard her voice can probably understand why. I look at her as an example of God at work loving us in spite of us.
This morning my pastor shared the story about a virtuoso who played the organ. He was loved around the world. Sold out performances with standing ovations and cheers for encores at every show. The organ he played was very special. It was the kind of organ that required air to be blown into the pipes.
After one of his performances, a brother covered in sweat and exhaustion said to him, “we did great tonight didn’t we.” The virtuoso said, “I did great.” The virtuoso went on and on about how awesome he was and how the people all loved him. The brother was a bit hurt by this, afterall he had nearly blown his lungs out to give air to those pipes. As they stood behind the stage, the audience began to cheer for an encore. They wanted more of the virtuoso and so he returned to the stage, sat as his organ and began to play the organ but there was no sound. The audience grew silent, he touched the key’s again. Still no sound…
At that moment, he stood up and called the brother out and shared that they both were responsible for the beautiful music. He realized he had to give credit where credit was due, for without the air being blown by the brother, there would be no music!
That’s how life is for many of us. We build up these great positions, roles, accomplishments, careers, families, ventures and lives but we forget from which all of it comes. But God…
When we get so great that we forget, ignore and/or fail to recognize the GREAT I AM because we are so busy saying I am Great, we lose our air.
Whitney Houston became great. She rose to the top and none has ever gone higher than her. No one compares Whitney to anyone, but we all compare other’s to Whitney. When she hit rock bottom, it was as if she lost her air. She was a lot like the virtuoso, basking in the glory of herself and being the greatest. Just like the virtuoso, she lost her air. But GOD…
Sure, Whitney Houston of 2011 is nothing like the Whitney of 1986 when we first heard her sing THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL. Her voice isn’t as strong as it was then, but to hear her voice today is to see God blowing air into the organ… Its a sweet sound to hear God’s love pour through her voice. The cracks or slight distorted notes serve as a reminder, that although life may batter us, God keeps us from being broken.
I don’t know if Whitney will ever get back the air she had, but the air that she has today shows me that with God and through God, all things are possible. He has plans for us, each of us…”