faith · music · pop culture · womens issues

to what do you cling?

So it’s 1:58 AM as I start this. My internal clock is way off. Please note I did not say biological clock as that’s another blog for another day.

So I feel like I am finally ready to talk about Whitney Houston. The easy answer is don’t do drugs. Don’t let the pressure of being one of the world’s greatest singers ever get to you. Don’t ever give up on yourself. Be proud and confident and enjoy the ride.

Yep. Easy peasy nice and easy.

I will never be Whitney Houston for several obvious and not as obvious reasons. I will never know what it’s like to live the life of a celebrity. The closest I’ve ever come was to have two separate people within the span of an hour come up to me and ask if I’m Robin Jester and that’s in Williamsburg VA. So that’s that.

Trying to imagine the life she and many of her status live is a pointless exercise really, so I won’t do it. What I will do is have compassion. I find it horrifying and repulsive when people make fun of drug addicts, or any kind of addict really. Anyone who goes for the easy jokes and cruel speculations on why people turn to substances for relief is no friend of mine. You are hateful and your comments are as poisonous as the drugs themselves. In fact, your words and attitudes toward others are YOUR addiction and the chemical release you have in getting off on your self-righteous vitriol is not that different from the crack pipe you mock.

No one understands addictions at first – whether it’s cocaine or alcohol or sex or food or coffee or whatever it is that you rely on to get through the day – people fail to see what it is about these things that rules and ultimately ruins a life. That is, people who are shallow and lead unexamined lives. The longer I live the more I realize every person is ruled by something, an addiction of sorts. Maybe not the extremes of substances, maybe not a rampantly destructive sex life. But it’s something that you can’t get away from and you can’t control, try as hard as you might.

And it’s called sin. It’s called the anti-God nature we all have in us. If God is the Perfect One, everything else is less than. And when we run after anything less than God, we will always be lacking and we will always be seeking and we will always become desperate to fill the void, the horrific emptiness that lies in our very souls.

This is what happens to an addict. The addict has discovered this hole, faster than the non-addict. And like a sinking boat, they try desperately to patch up and just get tired of fighting.

And I’m telling you right now, you will cling to something. Whatever is in your reach – you will grasp onto and hold onto for dear life. You will always turn to it and it will be your savior for a time. It will be a pattern, comforting and wooing. You’ll feel what you’ve felt before… only it will intensify over time, and it will take more and more of whatever you have chosen to cling to in order to get you high. Whether it’s a substance, or a relationship, a person who you become dependent on. Or it’s a behavior or sex. Whatever it is, you will turn to it over and over.

And I beg you to cling to Jesus. I fear that Whitney Houston lost her way. She said often enough that she loves Jesus, and rumor has it that the very last song she sang publicly was Jesus Loves Me. But I think she forgot it. As we all do from time to time. We need the constant reminder, the still small voice. Yes, He loves you. You are His prize. You are His daughter. He has won you in the greatest battle of all time. He is your Knight and your Warrior, your Champion, and your King.

Cling to the Crucified. Be desperate for His Grace and Love. When the whole ship is sinking, He may not patch the boat. He will calm the storm.

Cling to the Mighty One,
Cling in thy grief
Cling to the Holy One,
He gives relief
Cling to the Gracious One,
Cling in thy pain
Cling to the Faithful One,
He will sustain…

Anonymous (from Bonar’s “Lyra Consolationis”)

A final thought… came across this painting and really loved it. I’ve always been moved by the idea of clinging to the feet of Jesus like the “sinful” woman who came and poured out precious oils on his feet and wiped them with her hair. I go to that image when I am feeling on the edge of desperation and despair and worthless and futile. It is one of those stories in the Bible that God wrote just for me 😉

The Repentance of the Sinful Woman, a painting by Lina

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