In the hours since the breaking news of Whitney Houston‘s passing, I have seen a range of reactions. There have been expressions of shock and genuine grief from her myriad fans. There have also been reactions of a less supportive nature. Some have expressed confusion and disgust at the outpouring of sorrow.
Art, music and love are some of the inexplicable things that make life beautiful. Our ability to fully appreciate and experience these sublime delights makes us human. How dull life would be without music. When someone as gifted as Whitney reaches super stardom, their talents reach out, touching the lives of millions, on a level that is individual and not fully comprehensible. Through her music, Whitney walked with her fans through the depths of sorrow, heartbreak and betrayal and floated with them to the heights of infatuation, inspiration, and joy. And because of this, there is a felt connection.
I have also shed some tears because of Whitney Houston’s passing. I have cried selfishly; because her music has taken me through the decades. When I listen to her song “One Moment in Time’, vivid memories come flooding back. I relive emotions from the historic 1988 Summer Olympic games held in Seoul, South Korea. Through the technological marvel of all-day cable TV coverage, the profound struggles and triumphs of the world’s athletes were set to music in a way I will never forget. Whitney features prominently in the soundtrack of my life.
I have also cried selflessly, as I reflect on the turbulence of Whitney’s later years. How could someone so gifted, whose talents touched so many have fallen prey to her own demons and thrown so much away? Is it that she didn’t know how much she was loved? Didn’t she know how much she mattered to so many people? Self-destructive tendencies are often inexplicable. And yet, in spite of all of this, her death should still be mourned.
Albert Einstein once said that “he who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed’. So today, I pause in wonder to listen and to appreciate the extraordinarily powerful range of an angelic voice. I stand in awe of the incomparable talent that was Whitney Houston. And I am grateful.