Monday, February 13, 2012
I started to read out loud Sarah Young's entry this morning in "Jesus Calling," but was truly overcome with tears. As much as I paused to choke back the tears, they came anyway and I handed the book over to my husband to read to our two children and me. I tripped on the words "those who yearn for me." They got stuck in my throat. And while I am somewhat embarrassed to tell you why, I think I must this morning because it has so profoundly impacted me today.
Before getting out of bed this morning, I watched and re-watched a struggling, desperate woman who hugged her friend in that way that says more than I missed you, more than I'm glad your here. She hugged her long, and hard and I imagined that in that moment something about the desperation of life was exchanged... because one of them did not want to let go ... And then in front of a club full of people, the desperate one took the microphone and began singing quietly at first, "Yes, Jesus loves me... Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me - the bible" - and she more loudly repeated while looking deep in her friend's eyes, "the bible ... the bible tells me so." And in that club somewhere in Hollywood, the crowd went crazy. And I believe that woman was hanging on, you see, hanging on with all that she had to the only truth that remained in her life - when all was said and done, when all the fame came and went, when all the drugs stole everything from her, she rose to her feet and sang the only thing that brought any sense of stability in her life, "Yes, Jesus loves me." Confidently, hopefully, soul-strongfully ... fearfully.
And that less-than-two minute, unfinished song was all as she left that stage and humbly waved off the cheering crowd because her voice was not what it once was. And she knew it. And she knew the crowd knew it. But she had to sing it that night, the night before she died. The very next day we would learn of her untimely death and the world would stop and think of all that she had been through. And our hearts would break because it seemed the demons won.
Sarah's words this morning, "It is a rare treasure, dazzling in delicate beauty yet strong enough to withstand all onslaughts. Wear My Peace with regal dignity. It will keep your heart and mind close to Mine." And I thought of the regal dignity of Whitney the night before her death singing that childlike song, "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible - the bible - tells me so." And I thought of my own times of quiet desperation when all I could do was repeat that thought, hoping that what the bible said was true - and putting everything I had on that one single belief. And while others may describe Whitney's last public performance differently, I saw desperation - and I get desperation. I know what it feels like to be that desperate, where the only thing you have is, "Yes, Jesus love me." And clinging to friends that care.
"A rare treasure, dazzling in delicate beauty yet strong enough to withstand all onslaughts."
Lord, may it be.