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Posts tagged ‘Substance abuse’

Reflections And Thoughts On The Life Of Whitney Houston

Just Whitney

Image via Wikipedia

Last night Greg and I watched the Oprah interview with legendary Whitney Houston. It was a great interview – I didn’t know what to expect, quite honestly.  If I had listened to what I was reading by others about her life – or those that didn’t like her and her choices in life, then I would have been swayed in a bad way.  But I listened for myself and found her to be a wounded and sad woman who became famous too young – in an industry that robbed her of her personal life.  In much the same way that the media and paparazzi ruined the lives of Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe.  We all know their sad ending.

I also found out more about her rich church family heritage and her strong mom and other family members who reached out to her  – trying to help when she was drowning. I found out about her drug addiction and more importantly the addiction to her husband Bobby Brown.  Those in emotionally abusive relationships can relate to what she said about the years she hung in there – thinking there was something wrong with her – while others tried to step in.  She stood by him for years – in much the same way Amy Grant stood by her husband, Gary Chapman for many years while he had an addiction problem.

I also learned that drugs and abuse can alter your personality and make you choose things you normally would not.  And the pain of changing those abusive tendencies can come with a high cost.  And it takes a lot of courage to leave.

I listened without judgement as she talked about her choice to walk away from performing, her years of drug abuse, years of pain and abuse in her marriage – and finally her renewed faith in God and the roots that she relied heavily upon,  her mom and other family and friends who have reached out to her.

I believe, and cannot prove – that the interview she gave to Oprah two years ago – ultimately led to her demise.  She was candid and honest about things that others may not have been pleased to have had exposed.  I believe she was on a good track – had left Bobby and was living with her daughter to try to regain her freedom and her life back.  She was singing again with the help and promotion from friend and former manager, Clive Davis – and seemed really happy.

When someone dies – especially those in the lime light of Hollywood – it is easy to make them out to be a target of our criticism – and somehow lump everyone into the same category – SINFUL.  It simply is not so.  As Christians we need to be an active presence in the arenas of entertainment and media – so others can learn the true source of strength, those filled with the love of Jesus who do not judge – and are truly “filled with the fruit of the spirit” for others to see.  We need to be people who attract lost people – not repel them by our comments and remarks.  We need to treat drug and alcohol abuse like the sickness that it is – and not just simply someone’s “bad choice”.  And we need to have compassion and love for those that are drowning and lost in a bad abusive marriage and spinning out of control in an addiction.

Lord help us.  May we live by example to a lost and dying world.  May we always keep judgement out of our hearts and lives – I pray that you would convict us of this.

As the services are going on for Whitney today – I pray for her family, her mom, her daughter and those that knew her best – and knew she was just a person who had weaknesses and was not strong like the media made her out to be.    I pray that they will find strength and comfort today – and be comforted by some of the interview with Oprah as Whitney talked about leaning on the love of God and His infinite grace.

God Bless

Dream On – A Visit With Steven Tyler

Last night I finished watching the 2 hour interview on OWN about Steven Tyler from Aerosmith.  Oprah has a new show – where she in true Barbara Walters style, is interviewing famous people one-on-one in their homes.

I have to say this: the thoughts below are my  personal opinion only.  I have a somewhat different view, because I grew up when bands like Aerosmith were at the height of their popularity – and like so many other bands of the era – they became the soundtrack of my childhood and teenage years.

I actually haven’t been a fan of Oprah until recent years – it was after all the controversy stirred up about her being “anti-God” and even “trouble because she’s so rich and powerful”.  I decided to watch, listen and decide for myself – not just take everyone’s word for it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find her open, generous to a fault, teachable, and gracious.  She has helped so many people – been an inspiration to thousands, maybe millions of people and is on a personal quest to find the good out there – and celebrate it.  I can’t speak about her spiritual condition – but if we judge her on her what she has done to help others – then I would have to say that her life speaks for itself and God is the only judge.  I like her.  I can’t help it.  She’s so down to earth and a really nice person, I feel like if I knew her personally, she would be a friend.

I also like Steven Tyler.  I can’t help it.  He’s such a nice, kind and gracious person.  I feel like if I knew him personally, he would also be a friend.  He has paid his dues as a rock star and all that comes with that title – and he’s still a really nice person – at the end of the day.  He’s stayed grounded, had a good support system, was intensely close to his parents and sister and stayed true to himself in the midst of years of drug abuse and pain.  Every interview I’ve ever seen of him in his recent years has been one filled with regret and it’s changed him and made him a real person, humble and open.  He was always a great performer – but now he’s just a really nice person who really cares about making a difference and not taking anything for granted.  He’s a judge on American Idol – and his humorous ways keep the show “light” and give a human touch.  He’s known to be outrageous and out spoken – I find him refreshing and real.

The interview was a glimpse into Steven and why he has come to be the way he is today.  It is wonderful to hear him say that each day is a gift – he wants to give back and not take anything for granted – that drugs are empty and he wishes he had not given into their seductive play in his life – he regrets the people and family he’s hurt and has spent much time trying to regain what he’s lost and to be a better Dad to those four kids that suffered at his absence.  He does not speak specifically about personal faith – but it is right under the surface of things he expresses and his life, attitude and actions prove that something has indeed changed him.  I loved it when he said that God is in the music he hears – and Oprah said, “maybe God IS the music” – it was a rich moment.

As a child of the 70’s – I appreciate the “old school” bands like Aerosmith – because they are classic and no one has ever been able to duplicate their unique sound and talent in all the years since.  Drug abuse was rampant in the 70’s and 80’s in most of the mainstream bands.  It was a way of life – an empty life of false promises and real heartache and pain after the fact.  Those alive today are grateful and take nothing for granted.

The older I get, the more grace I have for others that have made mistakes and bad choices.  I am not perfect – have blown it more times than I can count – and have found God’s grace rich, intense and always there for me.  I appreciate it when others are real about their mistakes, shortcomings and sin – and are willing to turn and go another direction with God’s help.  Even very wealthy rock stars and talk show hosts.  God’s grace has no limit on race, color or circumstance and is there for anyone who asks for it.  It is not for me to prejudge another person’s heart and life – that is for God alone.

Steven wrote “Dream On” when he was in his twenties.  The lyrics and melody came to him while he was in his home  – in the same place where Oprah was interviewing him – and  it has been Aerosmith’s signature anthem ever since.  My favorite Aerosmith song of all time – here it is.  It is a glimpse into his early talent as a songwriter, singer and performer.

Enjoy and God Bless

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