Monday, February 13, 2012
Saturday, February 11th at 8:24pm, I got a text from Dmoe.
DMoe: "Whitney is gone"
I reply: "??"
I mean, after all...there is only ONE "Whitney" - just as there is only ONE Prince, ONE Janet, ONE Michael, ONE Madonna, ONE Cher, ONE Luther...the list goes as to those who have achieved single name status. Yet, when I read "Whitney is gone," I refused to believe that it was THAT "Whitney" he was referring to.
DMoe: "Whitney Houston"
Me: "Gone as in dead?"
DMoe: "Died. Dead B"
It felt as if my heart stopped.
Whitney Houston was dead at the age of 48. Wow. I was stunned.
I immediately opened up my laptop to log onto Facebook where I seem to get all of my up-to-the-minute information nowadays. Post after post read "RIP Whitney", "We will always love you Whitney", "We miss you already Whitney."
It was true. So sad...so tragic.
But as I read more, there were those that left other sentiments.
"This is what drugs do to you, she brought it on herself."
"Overdose, she was acting crazy, I saw this coming."
While there was no official cause of death determined as of yet, a combination of prescription pills and alcohol are believed to be the culprit. So while her death may have been self inflicted, the cynicism on some posts seemed a bit cold, and unnecessary.
Yes, she struggled with drug abuse. Yes, she displayed erratic behavior. Like so many millions of people who struggle with addiction every day, what they need is not cynicism, or judgment or condemnation. What they need is help. They need prayer.
You never know what a person struggles with on the inside - what demons they try to hide from the rest of the world. And when you are a worldwide phenomenon like Whitney Houston, dealing with and hiding those demons would be a monumental feat. Most people suffer in anonymity. I can't imagine a life where in exchange for sharing your God given gifts with the world, the trade off is surrendering your privacy to the point where your faults, mishaps and mistakes are on full blast.
Yet even with her addiction, there was just something about her. She moved through the world as if she had universal carte blanche, with regal ease. She was a queen, a diva with talent unmatched - the voice of an angel. Beneath the poise and her presence was something more. We admired her, not just because of the power behind her voice, but because we suspected that she had the influence of Divine favor upon her. She was a child of God. It's called Grace.
And any of us can fall from it.
For many of us, it is through the Grace of God that we are still here. He protects us, is our source of strength and guides our steps. And when we've had enough, when we can no longer stand on our own, he either holds us up, or calls us home. Whitney surrendered to Grace and now rests in perfect peace.
She is no longer an addict. She isn't battling anymore demons. There is no more fear. Her spirit is comforted and she is made whole. She is made perfect through God's care and mercy - washed clean with majestic grace. She is free.
What we can learn from her passing, especially if you are suffering out loud or in silence, is that you don't have to be called home to receive God's grace upon you. You don't have to search for anything "out there" to take your pain away or to cope with life's tribulations - because the Kingdom is within. The universe is there to support you. THAT assurance gives us the ease we call grace - and we have unlimited inner resources to battle any problem, affliction, addiction or circumstance.
Life is unfolding in its perfect pattern, and death is no accident. It may seem sad and tragic to those of us who are living, but God knows exactly what He's doing. So savor this precious time that God is giving us - the days of grace that we are so blessed to have. Help and pray for those in crisis, and rejoice when suffering ends. Be transformed by wisdom and understanding in times of need and quieter moments of reflection, and be blessed on your life path...and be a blessing to others.