Sunday, February 12, 2012
"...Starlight...And How To Best Use It...."
The brightness of the spotlight shining on the details of, and reaction to, the death of Whitney Houston is of an intensity we haven't seen since Michael Jackson died.
This is, to be sure, a sad time.
But not just because a gifted performer has passed.
Because, once again, the forest gets lost.
While it will be a few weeks before medical evidence verifies the cause of death, one way or the other, it's not, given her very public history, an unfair or unreasonable assumption that Houston died as a result, directly or indirectly, of her struggle through the years with substance abuse.
And while any life being cut short is always a tragedy, this particular tragedy is, of course, magnified by the celebrity.
A celebrity that was born from a God given gift of talent.
That this gift has been silenced is, of course, a cause for sadness.
But, as is often the case with celebrity, the mixture of admiration, adulation and grief that pours out over the airwaves and news sites and blog sites creates the incorrect, and unfortunate, impression, no matter how unintended, that this death is any more tragic than that of a soccer mom who struggles with addiction and dies.
Or a school teacher who struggles with addiction and dies.
Or a local convenience store clerk who struggles with addiction and dies.
Every fourteen minutes.
Someone dies of substance abuse.
In less than half the time it will take for you to read what I have written here, someone else will die from that struggle.
But the odds are sure that you won't see their name come up as breaking news on CNN.
You won't see or read or hear thousands lamenting these lives cut short or the silencing of whatever gifts God gave them.
You won't see a moment of silence in their honor on prime time television.
And that, from any reasonable point of view, is a sadness on a par with the loss of a famous singer.
A sadness that occurs every fourteen minutes.
For over twenty four hours now, I have watched and listened as the tributes have poured in, as hundreds/thousands of people, on TV, on radio, on blogs, on websites, on Facebook, et al offer accolades to Whitney Houston and the songs she sang through her life.
And I can't help but feel like we gave Whitney Houston every standing ovation she deserved during that life.
And that now is not the time to leap to our feet yet again.
Perhaps a more fitting tribute would be to do, in memory of Whitney Houston's struggle, whatever we can to aid and assist the soccer mom who still struggles.
Or the school teacher.
Or the convenience store clerk.
Perhaps, when all is said and done, that would turn out to be "the greatest gift of all".