As i watched the homegoing service (funeral) for Whitney Houston, i, like so many others, was moved by the outpouring of love that was demonstrated during the service.
I appreciated the words spoken by the people who knew Houston in ways that most of us could only imagine.
You could see the pain etched on the faces of friends and family alike as they labored to make sense of what seemed like an absurd loss.
Those who spoke shared some glimpse of Houston that was a byproduct of their personal relationship with her and, as they spoke, many of us watching were hoping to get some deeper insight into the life of one we have admired from afar.
But it was the words of Kevin costner that brought me closer to Houston. i believe that his words may have been the most powerful ones spoken at the service because he was courageous enough to talk about what he called “her burden.”
Costner shared that when Houston was auditioning for the movie “The bodyguard,” she was extremely nervous. it would be her first acting role and she wondered if she was up to the task. costner said that although she was one of the biggest music stars at the time, she wondered if she was “good enough.”
He recounted that before the audition, he spoke with Houston and that, for her, there seemed to be a thousand things wrong that would contribute to her not getting the movie role.
Costner said that it was the first time he saw doubt creep into her conscience. He went on to say, “The Whitney i knew, despite her success and worldwide fame, still wondered, ‘Am i good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?’ it was the burden that made her great and the part that caused her to stumble in the end.”
It is hard for many of us to imagine that Houston struggled with her insecurities, but that is because we were so enamored by her gift that we could not or would not see her deeper needs.
Houston represented many of us who grapple with issues that are birthed out of our insecurities.
The difference between Houston and so many others is that she had to struggle under the gaze of the public eye. it is confounding when we encounter tremendously gifted people who are riddled with debilitating insecurities, but it is only confounding because we have dehumanized those persons and reduced them to their gifts.
We meet the Houstons of this world and because they are so extraordinary, we always want them to share their gifts. We place heavy demands on them and it seems that the more they give, the more we want and it is our wanting that makes them feel as though that what they have given is not enough.
We forget that beneath the fame and celebrity lurks a human being who is longing to be affirmed even in the midst of their giftedness. We sometimes forget that there are public people who constantly live with private pain. in fact, there are people everywhere who live with private pain that flows from feelings of inadequacy.
Maybe the next time you encounter those who have great gifts to offer, instead of seeking what can be gotten from them, offer them a gift. Remind them that they are “good enough.”