The Five F’s and the Whitney Houston’s Funeral
By Chido Nwakanma
Over three hours on Saturday, February 18, the world watched and prayed along with the Houston family as they held a funeral service for their dearly departed daughter, Whitney Houston. Major international cable stations, notably CNN, BBC and Sky, aired the programme live. It ranked next to the funerals for Lady Diana and Michael Jackson in drawing a global audience.
I was one of the millions in that global audience of persons interested in saying farewell to a major contributor to the human race. Yes, Whitney Houston came, played her part in stirring and lifting souls, and has now gone the way of all humans.
Whitney Houston for me remains one of the few musicians whose music lasts beyond their sale by date. Her music had strong and meaningful lyrics as well as great rhythm. Then she had the voice, the persona and the carriage to deliver that message. Her songs would linger and join the evergreens.
Back to the funeral. Wise King Solomon advised that funerals are great occasions to attend. Indeed, Solomon would go so far as to advise that it is preferable to attend a funeral than go to a party. Ecclesiastes 7:2 (NKJV) states:
Better to go to the house of mourning,
Than to go to the house of feasting
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Well, take it to heart we did, ruminating on death celebrations here and there and several aspects of life drawing from the funeral.
Whitney Houston’s funeral bears out the wisdom of Solomon.
It was a great production. The tributes were simple, heartfelt and straight to the point. The performances seemed designed to play out the poet John Dunne’s poignant quote, “Death, where is thy sting?”
No one in America reported any full page obituary ads in the papers. As the major networks beamed the funeral live, I searched for a key part of typical funerals here, the entertainment part.
Remember? Item 7 is a key component of funerals here, for young as well as old persons. The grieving family has to feed the equivalent of four villages, as well as give souvenirs.
What was the aso-ebi for Whitney? How many cows did they slaughter? The absence of these extras we indulge here did not seem to reduce the grandeur and solemnity of the event. They simply said, and we join them to say, goodbye Whitney. We will always love you!
There was also a more poignant portion for me. It is the fact that very few attain the five Fs of life. Each of the five Fs count and it is a challenge to rank order them.
The five Fs are faith, family, friends, fame and fortune. Whitney Houston had all five.
At the end, however, the first three counted the most. It finally boils down to these three, whether or not you had fame and fortune. Whitney Houston’s service dwelt on faith, family and friends. Fame and fortune hovered over it all, but everything eventually gets down to the Fundamental Fs.
We pray God helps us find the five Fs. More importantly, we pray never to lose the fundamental or foundational ones: faith, family and friends.
Keep the faith, dear friends and family!