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Didn't We Almost Have It All: Our Search for Happiness and Fulfillment

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One of the most popular songs of the legendary singer Whitney Houston was "Didn't We Almost Have It All." My days as a teenage disc-jockey almost always come back to me when the words of an old song have some special meaning for life's circumstances. Days ago, when the world was shocked by the news of the untimely death of this incredibly talented woman, the first thing that came to my mind is that, unfortunately, Houston was just one in a long list of talented Americans who have died in the past several decades due to some connection with drug abuse.

Perhaps the words in the title of this incredible hit, which was in the Top 40 for 13 weeks, is part of the problem. As was the case with other incredible talents like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, one can say that Whitney Houston was among those who "almost had it all". Interviews of the now deceased singer show that the more money she made, and the more prestige she seemed to enjoy in her career, the more she abused drugs of all kinds.

Certainly one of the most valuable things that Houston had in this life was a great mother, who apart from being a very talented Gospel singer herself, was also a concerned parent who did so much for her daughter and insisted on admitting her into rehabilitation programs to fight an addiction that seemed to more dangerous with each passing day. Whitney Houston was truly blessed to have family members who cared for her, did not give up and fought for her to have the opportunity to overcome the "demon" of addiction. Although not successful in their battle, the truth is that like so many other families, they struggled for years to seek their loved one's healing and recovery.

Unfortunately for most of us, addiction is not limited to the rich and famous, although we seem to talk about it much more when public figures suffer from it. This is a reality we are seeing more and more in our society and it is affecting countless families, regardless of socio-economic status. We are discovering more and more that there are "addictions" of all kinds, even beyond drugs and alcohol. At times it appears as if human beings are seeking ways to "have it all," even when the result of that search can cause so much damage. The fact is that they all require attention and intervention.

Yet, apart from all we continue to learn about the illness of addiction, there is a question that remains unanswered: What is it that makes so many people among us seek a substance or any destructive addiction to satisfy their needs or find a passing sense of happiness?

This is where the title of Houston's song comes to mind yet again. I believe part of the problem lies in discovering what it means to really HAVE IT ALL. No matter what level of fame or prestige we may or may not achieve in this life, if we look around we may discover that in so many ways we already have it all. If we pause for a few moments and look at our own lives, we will find countless expressions of love, peace and joy. Things such as the ability to get up in the morning and take a deep breath, seeing the sun shine and the possibility of enjoying those simple things of life are all too good to take for granted. Can we take it a step further and allow ourselves to come to the conclusion that material things simply do not meet or satisfy our deepest longings? The vacuum in every human being is ultimately a spiritual one, which, as a wise monk once said, has the exact size of God and only God can fill it.

Actually, if we really open our minds and hearts, we may discover that we already "almost have it all."