Prior to Whitney Houston's home going service yesterday, I shared shared 5 things she taught me about life. After the service, I watched several videos of her more recent performances, and this photo is a still from one of them.
I chose it because it's indicative of her fighting spirit. It shows that …
Whitney never stopped trying to hit the high notes.
If you look at the videos from the past few years, you see a woman struggling to find her place in a life that had exhausted her. You see a woman clearly not at her best, yet still facing thousands of people in a live audience, most of them holding cameras that would capture her performance — good or bad — and go viral within hours.
On these YouTube videos, there are mean spirited comments from unkind people.
But when you watch the videos, from Whitney Houston, you just see t-r-y.
In many performances of her signature song, I Will Always Love You from The Bodyguard movie soundtrack, she pauses for well over a minute to gather her wits before attempting to hit the song's highest note.
She took deep breaths. She wiped her brow. She sipped water. She nodded her head. She shook her head. She motioned to her band. She motioned to the audience to “wait a minute.” She looked utterly terrified and so very uncertain of herself.
But no matter how long it took her to get herself together — in the middle of a song — she always returned to the microphone. And not only did she approach it. She stared it down, and then, she went for it.
Sometimes she belted out the note well. Many times she didn't.
But she always tried. And though she struggled, she gave it her all for the people who had come to see her perform. You can see it clearly in this video. At 4:07, she stops the performance to gather herself. It wasn't until 5:20 that she made her best effort to belt out the most famous chorus from the song. It was admirable, but so disappointing.
But she did it anyway. She did the best she had the capacity to do at the time.
If you cannot appreciate a person when she's at her lowest, you don't deserve her when she's at her greatest.
After all she had been through, and all the reasons she could have given up, Whitney Houston never stopped trying to hit the high notes, and I have to pause to admire that about her. Just look at this.
Dignity. Grace. Determination. Triumph.
“I was not meant to break. I didn't know my own strength.”
Rest in peace, Whitney.
That is all.