Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Whitney Houston: A Story of Redemption

Those of you who read my ramblings regularly know that Oprah and I are little more than nodding acquaintances these days. (Details here.) That's why it's surprising to note that I just watched Her Highness for two days straight, having carefully DVRd back-to-back shows with considerable interest and enthusiasm. Why? Because she was interviewing Whitney Houston, and I was deeply curious.

The truth is, when Ms. Houston initially came on the scene, I was only a casual fan. It wasn't until she sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl that I really took notice of her. After that stirring rendition, it only took her performance in The Bodyguard to seal the deal for me. I was won over completely, not just by her amazing voice, but with the spirit behind her use of it. She was a joy to hear (and watch), and I thought she was remarkable.

That's why it was almost painful to observe her downward slide over the past few years. Seeing the light in her eyes vanish by degrees was pretty tragic. After her last interview with Diane Sawyer, I wondered if she'd ever pull herself together again. I wouldn't have bet on it; that's for sure. But yesterday, her interview on Oprah looked like a story of redemption to me. And I was moved by much that my own tears surprised me.

The light was back in her eyes, and she looked beautiful. She sounded beautiful too, though her voice is not the high-flying, effortless soprano of old. Her instrument has changed, but she still knows how to use it well, and the tone is rich and full. What's more, she sings with her heart.

And she spoke to my heart as she told a tale of marital woe and drug addiction, but my emotions didn't rise to the surface until she began speaking of the return of a faith that literally saved her...and of a family's love so powerful that it sustained her. Family is where I live, and when her lovely daughter expressed deep affection and respect from her seat in the audience, it was clear to me that Ms. Houston has a wonderful life in store if she chooses to stay on the path she is walking now.

I can't know what her long-term outcome will be, of course. Drug addiction is not a foe you vanquish once and forever. Day-by-day effort and attention are required to maintain sobriety, and it is not an easy road.

But with God, nothing is impossible. And I am rooting for her.

(Here she is, singing on Oprah yesterday. Be sure to click off my playlist to the right.)
When they flash on Oprah's face, know that I feel your pain. What a drama queen she's become.


Fiauna said...

It's all so tragic, really. I hope for the best for her, (Whitney, not Oprah. I agree, she's a drama queen).

Lisa said...

Thank you for your comments, I was curious myself. So sad for her daughter to have to watch this, although quite a family lesson in love.

Jill said...

I always watch Oprah's opening season, but not this week. I dvr it everyday just in case it has a show I want to check out. But I immediately deleted Whitney Houston and didn't even look at it. Not that I have anything against WH, I just did not know what was so important that she would take 2 shows. Now after reading your blog, I wish I had saved it!

jen said...

I had planned to watch Oprah this week just for those two interviews. Now I'm sorry I missed them. You're right. Whitney's voice isn't what it used to be. Can't say I love it any more. But you're also right. Her sparkle is back. And I absolutely love the message of that song. Some of the lyrics are a little corny, but the overall message is amazing.

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karen said...

I've always liked Whitney Houston. What a voice... I wish I could have seen the shows, and I hope she makes it this time.

VK said...

Loved Whitney's voice always. She really has some fun movies and hopefully she can stay focused on her Savior and mine.

Heather Anderson said...

Like Whitney, I too didn't know my own strength. I wasn't sure if I was going to be strong enough to make it through the whole song, but I did it. I persevered. I am glad Whitney is doing better, but whatever happened to Oprah is truly terrifying, totally.

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Matthew D. Anderson

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