Whitney Houston: The Voice That United America

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 A few hours ago, while attending a nephew’s birthday party, I was rocked by the news that the American icon, Whitney Houston, had died.   Despite the sadness that marked the last several years of her life, I could not help but flashback to the younger Whitney who came on the stage in the 1980’s with that powerful voice and infectious smile.  The way she moved her listeners with such hits as “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “The Greatest Love of All” would have been enough to make her an icon.

But Whitney did more than just entertain a nation.  I will never forget the theme song she sung for the 1988 Olympics, “One Moment in Time.”  That song did not just inspire a team of Olympians to reach out and seize their one moment, but for the next several years, that song inspired people from all walks of life to be all that they could be and chase after their dream.  As a basketball coach, I actually used that song as our team theme one season.

“Give me one moment in time

When I’m racing with destiny

Then in that one moment of time I will feel, I will feel eternity.”

But Whitney did not stop uniting America with her voice at the 1988 Olympics.  Who could ever forget her stirring rendition of the National Anthem in the 1991 Super Bowl.  America had recently gone to War in what was known as Desert Storm.  I will never forget standing at attention in my own living room as Whitney Houston, dressed in a flag colored, red, white, and blue warm-ups, sang the most memorable Star Spangled Banner I had ever heard.  Despite being by myself that day listening to her belt out those famouse words, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave,” tears literally rolled down my cheeks as the biggest wave or patriotism I had ever felt swept over my body.  Even to this day, two decades later, every time I hear the National Anthem, my mind flashes back to the red, white, and blue clad Whitney Houston singing our country’s song.

Whitney Houston, you were loved by many.  During your prime, the message you gave the world was one of hope.  Your music encouraged us to chase our dreams and you encouraged us to make our love last forever.  It is with sadness that your life had to end in such a sad way, but even in your death, you are still giving out a message to the world.  Yes, Whitney, “Didn’t [you] almost have it all?”  You had talent, you had success, you had beauty, and you had money.  But you remind us all again of the age old truth that if we try to find happiness in those pursuits, we might as well be chasing the wind.  They will not bring us happiness.

Whitney, I know your background growing up in the church and I know you heard the truth of God’s love and His salvation.  I pray that  deep down, depsite the years lost in lonliness and drugs, you knew Jesus Christ and today you are singing in His kingdom, not for just “One Moment in Time.” but for all eternity.  And one day, I pray that I hear you sing again.  Only this time, it will not be the National Anthem, but the Song of the Redeemed.

 

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