Wow!! Last night had it not been for a friend calling me in complete shock, I wouldn’t have known of Whitney Houston’s passing, probably until this afternoon.
After hearing of Ms. Houston’s passing, I thought this thought:
All of the icons of MY particular life are physically gone now…but the lessons I learned from each of them will forever live on with me.
For me, it was my grandmother, Michael Jackson, my mother, and Whitney Houston (only in that order chronologically, not importance.)
My granny March 8, 193? – December 12, 2006
In 2006, the GREATEST woman I ever knew passed away. My granny was the glue that really held our small family together.
She was an icon FOR ME! She taught me so much about life, love, God, and how to get to know myself….I’ll never forget her. She will always hold a special place in my heart and my life.
Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)
Everybody in the world talked bad about Michael Jackson. Everybody! Once he was accused of sexually assaulting the first lil kid in 1993, he didn’t stand a chance against our “modern” society. After that one allegation (and subsequent payoff) it was like the world FORGOT about the things Michael had accomplished in his life. He was ridiculed almost as bad as Jesus…and Jesus was innocent!
Michael Jackson taught me something through all of that though. I don’t know if he was innocent or guilty of the charges that were brought against him. But I learned how to NOT judge a book by it’s cover. I learned NOT to take what “facts” are presented to me at face-value and to read the whole situation. I didn’t just learn that from Michael Jackson, but my grandmother and my mother taught it to me, and Michael’s situation(s) made me use those teachings. Now, regardless of what I’m told, I know that if it didn’t happen to me or in my presence, I should take some things with a grain of salt and draw my own conclusions. Michael Jackson also taught me that no matter what happens, you gotta keep ya head up and live life “business as usual.” That man may not have been graceful all the time, and he may have been weird-looking, but he was a GREAT icon in my life. I’ll always bump his stuff and sing along like I was there when he was writing it!
My Mother (August 12, 195? – July 9, 2010)
Oh, the lessons I learned from this lady! My mama may have been a tough lil woman, but she bestowed on me the greatest love she had and I’m gonna love her forever for that! I’ll say that the most important lesson she taught me was that I’d have to first have a strong relationship with God before anything in life seemed right. It took me a while to learn that lesson too, but Praise God, I got it! The other most important lesson my mom taught me was that I had to get to know MYSELF before I could expect someone else to know me. I had to know me before I got to know someone else. And I had to trust me and don’t leave too much trust with other people. This is a lesson that, at the time, I thought was crazy. Who doesn’t know their own self? Who has to “get to know” their own self? Well, reader(s), let me tell you that this is a lesson that should be taught from birth! Don’t just get to know the ones around you, you gotta get to know you. What you like, don’t like, will like, might like, etc. You gotta work it out, man. I thank my mama for teaching me that. My mama was a great icon to me in so many ways. There’s way too much that I can say about her. I lost her physical self, but my mama will be with me forever.
And then finally,
My heart SANK when I heard of Ms. Houston’s death last night. I know that I didn’t know the lady personally, but I was THERE (in spirit) when she sang “The Greatest Love of All”! I felt her pain when she sang “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength”! I knew her joy when she sang “Jesus Loves Me”! Dangit!!!!! She was a part of my young life from the time she sang “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Didn’t We Almost Have It All?”!!! Who in the world could have known that that WONDERFUL life would somehow detour on the trip she ended up taking? And you know what? Her return may have been slow… It may have had it’s fall backs, slip-ups, and backsliding…but return she did! She OWNED UP to her shortcomings and I, for one, did not judge her because of them. (I did, however, wonder what in the world did she see in Bobby Brown, but you know…to each his/her own, man…to each his/her own.) Whitney Houston taught me to just keep going. Don’t stop, keep moving. You may take a wrong turn in life, but don’t stop on that turn, keep going….Like the freeways in Houston, Texas, if you just keep driving, eventually you will end up right back where you took the wrong turn and you can be on your way. You might get to where you’re going later than you originally thought, but you will get there.
Whitney Houston’s passing marked the last of the icons I held dear in MY life. I don’t hold too many people in high regard, but the above four people were the ones I looked up to the most…regardless of their shortcomings, pitfalls, backsliding, and wrong turns. No judgment from me…just lessons learned and memories left.