I remember the first time I watched Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard.
Now, you have to remember that I have always been a good Baptist. Not once have I ever been wasted, high, or stoned.
But, when Whitney belted out “I’ll always love you” my mind exploded.
She changed the way I saw music. It was more than timing and melody. Music had wings, strong enough to carry the heart to places ordinary words could never go.
Fact is, Whitney’s vocal talent and riveting presence took the world by storm. Nobody sang like Whitney Houston.
Then, she disappeared.
Years later, I found her found her at the grocery store. On the check-out aisle. In the tabloids.
“Drugs! Depression! Rehabilitation!” they screamed.
“Just another headline,” I said to myself as the cashier scanned my purchases, “that’s what she’s become.”
I was wrong.
Last week, Whitney Houston died.
The fans that had forsaken her began to mourn. I anticipated an elaborate farewell on television, much like the ones produced for other superstars who had died.
Instead, Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, took the lead.
The live-streamed service celebrated Whitney’s’ life as a mother, daughter, sister and friend. The people gathered were, as Kevin Costner said, the ones who “loved her first, who loved her best, and the ones who loved her the longest”.
Few of us will ever achieve the fame of Whitney Houston. I guarantee that none of us will sing quite like she did.
But, we will all follow dreams.
Give of ourselves, in one way or another, to make a better world.
Where ever our journey takes us,
We Must Never Forget The Way Home.
It’s the one place where we are never just a headline, the sum total of what we should or should not have done.
It’s the church family that embraces us while we are still broken.
Parents who believe in us when we don’t believe in ourselves.
A God who knows us and loves us just the way we are.