I don't think the magnitude of the gift we lost in Whitney Houston's death has really been felt yet. And I think it's because we don't really care for one another the way we should.
We are, in many ways, becoming a walled-off society, only concerned with ourselves and those closest to us. Anything past that wall of security we generally treat like a commodity. We forget that there are real people behind the music we listen to who have pains and fears like we do.
Some may ask the very simple and sincere question of, "Why? Why should I care about someone I have never met? I’ve never purchased one of Whitney's CDs. I’ve never attended one of her concerts."
My answer would be, “Because she's a human being just like you and me.”
It seems we only see each other in the right light when tragedy strikes. 9/11, Columbine, untimely celebrity deaths, and recently the unthinkable in the Sandy Hook tragedy strike us at the core, jarring us into the reality that all human beings matter. We finally understand that the world doesn’t revolve around us. We finally see the intrinsic value each person carries. We finally realize that we are all treasured gifts, given to one another by God. Why must it take a tragedy for us to realize this?
Life is precious and we should treasure it no matter what. It does not matter if you know someone well or not. We're all connected through humanity, plain and simple.
When Whitney passed, I remember thinking how I wanted the world to remember her as the beautiful human being that she was. Perhaps if I could remind people that she was, at her core, a fun-loving Jersey girl who loved to sing, then I could persuade people to take off the "celebrity" lens and see her as her closest friends saw her. I wanted people to treat her the way they would want to be treated and remembered.
If I treated you the same way I like being treated, then I would care about you. I wouldn't speak evil about you. I would give to those in need. I would take the time to feed those with no food. I would love unconditionally. That, my friends, is how Whitney lived her life. She lived fully. She loved fully. She gave everything.
In this beautiful season of giving thanks, I pray that we all take the time to look around and see one another for who we really are at our very core: Precious gifts to be cherished. I think that's what Whitney would have wanted this Christmas.
I miss you Nippy.