I read this post on Facebook and was very moved by the author’s sentiments…so moved that I contacted him directly for permission to repost. Some things are that important.
Appreciating the irony that on this day that I received the edited draft, I got word that one of my childhood friend’s mom passed. You know how when you grow up in a group of people and everybody else’s parents are your parents, too? That’s how I feel. I am feeling for my friend and her sisters, but am comforted to know that the Lord and Mr. Herbert were at the gate waiting for her. Godspeed, Ms. Alice….
FOR ONE MOMENT IN TIME, WE HEARD A COMET… (Rest In Peace, Whitney Houston)
By William Fredrick Cooper
(Dedicated to my Grandfather, Mr. Rufus Royster – December 25, 1930 – February 11, 2012… Rufus, thank you for your unconditional love you displayed to our family, especially Grandma; While I’ll miss those intimate talks (especially those last few weeks when we both knew… ) and all your stories about life, I find peace in knowing that you are not suffering anymore…You were A MAN in every sense of the word, and it seemed only fitting that God blessed you with an angel to accompany you on the journey to those Pearly Gates. No, Grandma ain’t jealous, for she knows what I know about this angel… Let me tell you a little about her…)
Have you ever seen a comet?
If not, then once you experience a sighting…
Illuminating and iridescent, the extraterrestrial mixture of ice and dust form a fuzzy, indecipherable tip and tail, then goes on a transient journey; ultimately orbiting around the sun, where it ultimately burns out. Illuminating our precious blue skies here on earth, the sighting of God’s wonder is sadly succinct, yet memorable for a lifetime because of its beauty.
From His dust, God also created comets in human form; individuals who leave footprints in the sands of humanity so wondrous that they grip your senses, never to let go of them. Everlasting as much as they are impressionable, the person God places in our hearts is truly unforgettable.
Unfortunately, as beautiful as those human comets are to the naked eye, threatening to bubble to the surface is an agony that can destroy Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Sometimes publicly picking up the pieces of a shattered spirit, the tears and frowns once reserved for private manifest themselves in hard-to-explain-or-ignore self-destructive tendencies. Irresponsibility and insecurity blurring its eyesight, sometimes the comet’s orbit around God’s universe can get too close to the heat of the sun. Burned on impact, its soul scorched by innuendos, insults and ignorance (not to mention rumors, off-color opinions and assumptions; you do remember what happens when you ASS-UME, right?), the path is re-routed through a maze of questionable choices that ultimately lead to painful outcomes and, in some instances, tragic consequences.
In a cold, cruel word where me-ism and selfishness trumps togetherness seven times out of ten, learning to love yourself the way God has instructed us to is a mandate in grinding times.
Human comets battling demons are a cautionary tale to us all, yet with all their trials, tribulations, triumphs and setbacks, to those naked pupils of scrutiny God also gives us the freedom of choice. How we choose to remember these comets is entirely up to us…
Now at the beginning of this musing, I spoke of a sighting of a Human comet being timeless. Humbly, I want to amend that statement.
Sometimes you can actually hear them before seeing them.
And for one amazing moment in time, we all heard it.
Back in the mid-80’s, we actually heard the heart of a human comet. Strong, sensational and smooth simultaneously, something told us that this heavenly sound was a gift from God; an ordained creation put on earth as an exhibition of awesome might. The Voice of His Comet was so powerful, so angelic and so beautiful in its rich texture that it stopped you dead in your tracks. Magical, majestic and mammoth, somehow the label diva could not capture what we heard; nor the chills felt at our core.
To say that the contralto sound had skills was a gross understatement. Her timbre soon recognizable to all of us from the initial note from each song, each and every sound came from the heart. Akin to that writer that transcends genres, the voice of God’s comet possessed so much agility that it was the envy of virtually everyone who ever approached a microphone.
Every song had its own story of purity, passion and pain; and you just knew that God’s wonder possessed the lung power to finish each melody the way she started it. Each lyric was filled with energy and emotion. Exuding perfection in precision and pitch while in total command of her outstanding range, we all knew this was God’s greatness personified.
For many of us, it was the most incredible sound we had ever heard.
Heaven was missing an angel.
God loaned her to us for a moment in time.
If we weren’t sold on the vocal gymnastics of this comet, then her drop-dead, supermodel-before-Tyra–Banks-was-ever-thought-about appearance was the clincher. Sexy without even trying, (Okay, so she wasn’t a great dancer… WHO REALLY CARED???) Whitney Houston had a natural, stunning beauty.
Did I also say that it was the most incredible voice I had ever heard? I wouldn’t be alone in my assessment: Simultaneously inspired and intimidated, many of her peers called our human comet the best voice they had the pleasure of hearing.
That once-in-a-lifetime sound came from a comet named Whitney; from right across the River from me, no less.
Where did our broken hearts go for healing? Into a Whitney Houston record..
When a young adult with a tremendous fear of rejection needed good love (I was a virgin for a long time), I turned to a Whitney Houston melody and imagined her singing to me. In those visions, she ALWAYS saved her love for me. Heart hanging on her every note, how did I know I would get so emotional every time I ran to her for a great song? With Whitney Houston’s incredible instrument, I could Exhale, for I knew that her love of song would come along and save the day.
Do you need an example of my shoop-shoop? If I wanted to dance to a record and was told ‘no’ by a young lady at a club, I grooved alone while waiting to dance with someone that…
You get the picture.
The human comet became a fantasy and remedy to all those sad moments brought on by puppy love.
Oh how I wished to save the luster of God’s human comet.
Oh how I wished Whitney would just love herself to save herself.
As our comet began its descent from the sky (drugs and alcohol), we became selfish. Taking for granted that she would bounce back from all derailments, we just knew that she would be okay, even as she began missing appointments, behaving irrationally in public, diving heavy and heavier into cocaine then prescription drugs, et al.
And we just knew the voice of our comet would re-align with the sun, moon and stars.
Somehow we just knew that the Whitney Houston wouldn’t be swallowed alive by her monsters; even as we viewed the reality show that may have, for all intents and purposes, colored mainstream perceptions of her. We just knew that the monsters that swallowed so many of our own – Billie Holliday, Frankie Lymon, Amy Winehouse, Dinah Washington and Michael Jackson immediately come to mind – would not eat her alive.
Sadly, we all found out over the weekend that sometimes monsters do win…
Or do they?
The human comet that was Whitney Houston shined so brightly that the lights to our heart and souls will forever remain lit…Taking the baton from Bessie Smith, Marian Anderson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle while opening doors for Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jordin Sparks, Kelly Price, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson, she will always burn bright amongst the stars. Providing a brief yet incredible legacy through song, as she returns to her angelic state above Whitney Houston, our human comet, gave us a choice.
Do we remember her as the best singer of our and perhaps all generations, or in the alternative, do we focus on the tragic end of a brief journey into the soul of a human comet?
The awesome music portfolio of Whitney Houston, something that will be here long after I joined her and my grandfather in heaven one day, will speak for me…
For a moment in time, she gave us God’s very best.
Rest in Peace, my queen, you’re with The Lord now.
Our comet can finally exhale.
God wants you to take this final bow.. Rest In Peace, Whitney.. In this Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, file photo, Artist Whitney Houston performs onstage at the 37th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Houston died Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012, she was 48. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File) AP2009
(William Fredrick Cooper is the author of three books: The Critically acclaimed novel SIX DAYS IN JANUARY, the Award-Winning National Bestseller THERE’S ALWAYS A REASON, and a sports memoir ONE SEASON IN PINSTRIPES.)