Please excuse the extreme cheese of this post but I have been feeling a bit nostalgic and weirdly inspired this morning. It has taken me a little while to really adjust to the fact that Whitney Houston is no longer with us. Because she was such an icon for me growing up, I have been reflecting on her impact on my life, her greatness, and perhaps the burden that can come with that greatness. The album Whitney is the soundtrack to many vivid childhood memories of what I hoped it would be like to be an adult and what I imagined it was like to be an inspiration to others. (Tell me you can watch this video and not feel instantly better about life).
While most people/news/whatever are harping on Whitney's poor choices, those choices only solidified for me how tragic I found her passing to be. I can't imagine what her life was like, but I know she was given a gift that she used to touch millions of lives, and while I hope inspiring others was a source of joy for her, I imagine living up to others' expectations could be draining.
I'm not usually one to put celebrities on pedestals (nor do I typically think of them as "leaders") but I do think they provide an interesting point of reference for what we want our lives to be. With (one of my mom's teenage heartthrobs) Davey Jones passing away yesterday, it just put things into perspective for me. Both of these people surely provided inspiration in one way or another to an entire generation, and more than anything, represented ideals for certain groups of people.
This all might be coming together for me because I recently watched a TedTalks by Seth Godin that hit home for me. His video is about using what you are given to speak up and as such you will connect with others, lead them and inspire them. He says it much more eloquently than I do, and I think you'll enjoy the video.
The point for me in all of this is that we have all been given talents and have been put in our particular life scenarios to touch others, not necessarily to be the best or the brightest. Romans 11:29 pretty much tells you as much: "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." For me, that bit about our calling being ours is great reassurance that just being truly who we are is enough. Speaking about what matters to your heart, connecting with other people, upsetting some folks and knowing that quietly leading is still leading will all result in change or inspiration for someone. Maybe even yourself.
The TedTalks video reminded me of all of the zany ideas I disregard because I think someone else is better suited to present them to the world. Whitney reminded me that perfection might be beautiful and inspiring but comes with it's own heavy burdens. My goal is to live in the sweet spot somewhere in between those world's. What about you?