Rest in peace, Amy...

Amy Winehouse, troubled and addicted British singer, died yesterday.  She was 27.  We were in Istanbul when she cancelled her most recent tour after a shout-out to Athens when she was actually in Belgrade and being unable to carry her own singing.  When she left the stage and relied exclusively on her back-up singers, the crowd booed her off the stage when she tried to return.  And now she is dead. (see

Two thoughts about this sad turn of events - and then a prayer:

+ Some of our most talented pop icons are so wounded and broken that they cannot manage their inner emptiness.  It is no wonder that Elvis and Morrison and Jimi and Janis and so many others take to the bottle and the needle during their down time.  On the stage they are loved - and showered with wealth beyond imagination - but when the show is over, they have to go home with themselves.  And even when they aren't alone, after the buzz or the sex is finished they still see themselves in the mirror.

Before fame the self-medication is usually modest - or else nobody notices.  But when the stakes go up and the crowds and money are wild, the emptiness grows, too.  Clapton and Harrison and Lennon and Cobain  all turned to junk to bring an end to the aching sorrow and screaming silence. So did Coltrane and Bird and Miles and Hank and Michael and Frankie Lyman and so many others.  Some eventually find a way to sobriety and sanity but most don't.  And the crowds cheer as their heroes go down in flames.

+ I once heard the poet, Robert Bly, say that the time had come to bury the ugly and tragic myth that an artist has to be lonely and tortured to created great art.  Sure, angst is a powerful catalyst - but so is love and compassion and hope.  I used to say that mostly I have learned from my mistakes - and that is still true - but I also want to shout from the roof tops that I have also learned and matured from joy and blessings, too.

In my service book for a funeral there is is the follow affirmation before the prayers that seems right in lieu of sad Amy's likely overdose:

We believe that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and we know that in everything God works for good with those who love God and are called according to God's purpose. Therefore we are certain that neither life nor death, angles nor principalities, things present nor things to come, power, height, depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

I pray peace for Amy.  I wasn't a fan - I loved her wit and naughty smile - but didn't revel in her music.  It wasn't my groove.  But I did pray for her - just like I prayed for Brittney Spears and Courtney Love who also once looked like they were going down in similar flames - and my heart goes out to her today. The closing prayer in our funeral liturgy works here for me and stands as a call to compassion:  Rest in peace, Amy Winehouse, broken but beloved child of God.

O God, whose days are without end and whose mercies cannot be counted,
awaken us to the shortness and uncertainty of human life.
By your Holy Spirit, lead us in faithfulness all our days.
That when we have served you in our generation,
we may be gathered with those who have gone before,
having the testimony of a good conscience,
in communion with your faithful community,
in the confidence of a certain faith,
in the comfort of a saving hope,
in favor with you, our God,
and at perfect peace with the world;
through Christ Jesus our Redeemer.


Black Pete said…
May she rest in peace.
RJ said…
Man, I hope so...

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