I was sitting on the couch in my parents’ home Saturday evening, laptop at hand, outlining some ideas while the TV provided background noise to my musings. Suddenly my attention was awakened to the screen when I heard the words, “Whitney Houston was found dead this afternoon…”
My focus shifted intently to the news of her passing being broadcast through the waves.
It’s not that I am a big Whitney Houston fan (I don’t even know if I can name more than a couple of her hit songs), but I was jarred from my thoughts because life’s great equalizer had just catapulted itself into the living rooms of people all over the world—death.
Whitney Houston had a life of iconic proportions; incredible talent, beauty, fame, fortune, and all the drama that came with it. But in a moment it was all snuffed out. Gone. Her daughter is left without a mother and her absence will leave a hole in the hearts of the many who loved her.
But what especially struck me as I listened to broadcasters describe Whitney’s life was the fleeting nature of the values illustrated. Beauty, fame, talent, fortune (or squandered fortune as the case may be) were the ways commentators ascribed worth to her life…but those things have absolutely no value to her in death. None.
I don’t know Whitney’s heart or God’s work in her life, but I do know the only hope in death is a life lived out of the grace of God wherein the things he values become our values. It’s the only legacy that truly crosses the barrier from life to death.
Like Whitney, none of us know the day or hour when our last breath will escape our body, but in the meantime I pray for the grace to live a life that reaches into eternity.