30 years ago this week the remade single of the Greatest Love of All (originally a George Benson song for a 1977 biopic of Muhammad Ali), was released by the late Whitney Houston.
This song has defined me for 30 years, I love its lyrics, her soaring voice and we used to sing this when I was Paul Revere Elementary School in South Shore. This was our song when I was in 4th grade. We loved Whitney and what the song stood for.
And for 30 years this song has been in my rotation from the original vinyl to tape to CD and now download.
But over the last few years the song has even more meaning because I’ve found this song to be so true.
For years I was not happy, not happy with me, my situation, just thinking things sucked when they really weren’t all that bad.
It took me losing my dad two years ago, having some tough job issues and getting through all of that and having my son show up last spring as well as pushing myself to find out what true happiness is.
So it’s important that the Greatest Love of all come from within, it can’t be you are looking to someone or something for your happiness.
You have to be happy with how things are right now. Don’t be a bad politician promising yourself things in the future that simply cannot happen. You will crash and the truth will make you miserable.
Don’t fall in love with false idols (check in the Bible in both the book of Exodus 20: 2-6 & first book of John 5:21 on the holy thoughts on this), that is you become infatuated or have a “crush” on material thing or a person that you may not know well.
The reality of your crush with that thing or person (not working out), can easily end up “crushing you”, your spirits and what you thought were your happiness.
Or even if you get that item or meet with the person and it doesn’t live up to the hype and you want more that you think will make you happy.
It’s like looking across the way and the proverbial “grass is greener” over there. Let me be frank, that grass is fertilized with BS.
We need to learn to love the side we are on.
You listen to this song and we have to “own our happiness”, and as the song states “if it takes us to a lonely place”, we gotta live with that.
And I’m not saying we need to be delusional or untrue to ourselves with our situation. We need to live in this world and not the “reality” we may see on TV or a downloaded show.
For me it’s to think about how far I have come and not get negative about how far I have to go, it’s being cool with myself and where I am and think, this is pretty good.
There will always be problems, something will always need to be fixed but don’t become fixated on that problem, it will be gone and a new problem will take its place but enjoy what else you’ve got going on.
The song is not about running away either, I used to think I’d have to move 1,600 miles (Arizona), to be happy and then it occurred to me I could be unhappy there too.
I thought about all the things I like here, I am a Midwestern man (Chicago area guy), through and through and I’m good here. Got great friends, excellent family and in a positive professional environment (and some options for the future), it’s not what I thought I’d be in but its good stuff.
So we must be grateful for what we have and not always in a rush to get more stuff.
My favorite song has aged well and it’s meaning more clear than ever, simply we have to love from within and trust me then everything else falls in place.
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Filed under: African American History