I want to talk about Whitney Houston and for those of you who are about to stop reading please stay with me.
She was born with a gift, with a voice that filled you with joy for its sheer beauty, a voice that in one song, in one line even, could express all the emotions that would do most of us for a lifetime. A voice that gave her fame, adulation, money and, in the end, misery.
Whitney could have had a wonderful life, fuelled by the gift of her voice.
In the beginning she did, she had everything she wanted, more than she wanted.
The little girl who said, “Mom, I’m going to be a star”, could have the stars and she did.
But that was not enough… drink, drugs, difficult relationships; broken relationships have made the star drop from the sky.
All that she had was slowly being destroyed, all that she was, was slowing being destroyed, and in the end her life has been destroyed.
The gift of her voice laid waste.
Yes, the voice remains on CDs and DVDs but the life has gone. Everybody knew her life would hit the rails, she probably did too, but in our human irrational way she, and probably us too, hoped that in the end everything would be alright.
We have been given a gift too. The gift of life, of a world full of wonder, full of opportunity.
We have been given skills and talents beyond imagination.
We can create the most beautiful pictures, the most sublime music, words used in a way that lift our souls.
We can invent, advance knowledge, plant gardens, increase scientific knowledge, save lives, extend lives.
We can do all that but we still want more so we ravage our world, burn fuels that destroy our atmosphere, cover our land with concrete, eat too much, drink too much.
We want more and more, and destroy more and more.
We consume, we lay waste.
The gift is slowly being destroyed.
We hear the warnings, hold conferences, go into rehab for a while then revert to our old ways. Everything will be alright in the end but it won’t.
Whitney Houston’s life is a paradigm for how we live.
Her gift is lost and if we go on as we are doing we will lose the gift of life too.