What if it was me?

Over the last week there’s been a lot of conversation surrounding the death of Whitney Houston.  Sadness, memories, admiration, speculation, criticism.  Whitney Houston lived a very public life, with successes and failures well documented and publicized.  Some would say that her life in her last years had been a train wreck.  I think her life in the last years was human.

As I’ve watched people express criticisms of her life over the last week through social media outlets, I’ve had one consistent thought.  What if my life were lived under the scrutiny that Whitney’s life had been? What if every failure of my life were not only known by my family or close friends but the world? What if every time I fell short, it made headlines? Some would say that it was a part of the life that comes with celebrity.  But at what point does it become acceptable to publicly throw stones? Yes, she made mistakes in her life.  Some with greater consequence than others.  But so have I.  And so have you.

I’ve reflected on some of my shortcomings in life this last week.  Some of my “bigger” ones, especially.  What if, in those times when I was at my lowest, a national spotlight had been placed on me? What if my private failure became a public frenzy? How would I have handled things? What if, every time I turned around, there were constant reminders of my past, my failures? What if some of those closest to me enabled my downward spiral rather than lifting me up?

Those thoughts and questions have made me see the life and death of Whitney Houston much differently.  I’ve felt such a great amount of compassion for her hurting heart and life cut short.  I’ve been grateful, that when I’ve been in a “train wreck” in my life, I’ve been surrounded by people who encourage me and help me get back on the right track.  I’ve been grateful that I haven’t had a spotlight.  I’ve been grateful that there aren’t videos from cell phone cameras & photos from paparazzi to constantly remind me of past I’ve worked to overcome.  I’ve been reminded that there but by the grace of God go I.  I’ve been keenly aware that I’m in no position to cast a stone just because my shortcomings haven’t garnered media attention.

I’m grateful that I as I grow older God is teaching and instilling compassion in me and the ability to see others with just a glimpse of how He does.  And I pray that, some day down the road, when I (or you) fall short again…because we all will…that compassion and not stones are what I find waiting.

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