Fifty years ago today, just a few weeks before Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech at the March on Washington, a miracle happened: a baby girl was born. She would grow up to become a global superstar, but most importantly, she would be faithful, even in the midst of inner battles, to the mission God gave her: to bring love and joy to this world through the gift of song. The baby girl’s name was Whitney Elizabeth Houston. Her family would call her, simply, Nippy.
Over a year has gone by since Whitney passed away at 48 years of age. For many of us, the sorrow will really never go away. And yet, for me anyway, the more that time passes, the more that sorrow swims alongside a flowing, gushing, and unadulterated gratitude: gratitude for Whitney, and gratitude for God for giving our world such a miracle.
Down below is a link to one of Whitney’s 1991 hits, Miracle. This line from the song resonates with me now as it did back then:
Nothing should matter
Not when love grows inside you
A voice of love is crying out
Don’t throw love away
There’s a miracle in store…
Ironically, on this day, August 9, we also remember the dropping of the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki in 1945. As Whitney sang in Miracle, we all have love – individual talents from the Creator – growing inside each and every one of us. It is always we human beings who throw away that love, who throw away the “miracle in store,” when we use our talents for war and other destructive purposes, or perhaps countenance or, quite commonly, live in fear of, those who do.
It is never, ever God who is throwing away the love that was put inside of us from the moment we were conceived.
It may sound like a stretch, but perhaps God decided that baby Whitney should be delivered into the world on August 9, simply to get us to stop throwing our hands up in the air when war and injustice take place, asking – and indeed shouting – “Why God why!”
God is always, always doing his part: giving us miracles of love inside each of us to work with, every single day. Miracle upon beautiful miracle.
Despite her battle with the dreadful disease of addiction, Whitney never threw away her miracle. Even in the last few years of her life, when her voice was wearing down, she still was faithful to her call – singing from the depths of her soul the best she could. She gave, and gave, and gave.
Generations yet to come will be blessed by God’s generosity that came in the form of this beautiful person, just as we have been so blessed.
Happy 50th Birthday, and rest in peace, Whitney Elizabeth Houston. Yes, we will always love you.
Here is Whitney’s video for the classic song, Miracle: