It was one of those laid back Saturday evenings. I rummaged through the satellite TV channels searching for something light to view. I clicked on American X Factor; a singing competition(It was being aired about two weeks after the live performances).
As the lady on the stage addressed the judges, I did my assessment – which is normal, I think, for most viewers. I listened to her voice as she introduced herself. It had good prospects- earthy, rich and stable. When she said she was a fifty-four year old grandmother, I screamed “what!”
I sat up.
With her tall frame, clad in skin-tight black leather, she barely looked thirty years.
When asked what song she would sing, I screamed yet another “what!”
Now, she really got my attention.
Though I murmured the lyrics as she sang, I held my breath to see how well she would deliver…
Lillie McCloud’s performance was not only breathtaking and memorable; she delivered what was in my opinion, beyond the ordinary.
The four judges rose to their feet in acclaim of her performance. Simon Cowell confessed that he had never heard the song before! Kelly Rowland; another judge, congratulated Lillie for taking on a song very few people knew, yet, everyone in the hall connected with the song in a most endearing manner.
Guess what? Alabaster Box which Cece Winans experimentally recorded in 1999 – on her own label, was common in many Christian homes. Perhaps, the wordy and deep spiritual content kept it within the restrictions of church folks. As Lillie belted out those lyrics, she made the unknown known. Cece’s efforts of years ago became fresh to millions the world over.
That’s not all. Should anyone enquire on what an Alabaster Box is, a reference would most likely be made, to the Bible story of Jesus having His feet bathed with tears and anointed with very expensive perfume (ointment?) from the alabaster box.
Lillie’s performance brings to fore and the acknowledgment that in this journey of life, races (no reference to ethnic or genetic variations) are not restricted to individual sprints or marathons, but may include relays. One takes over the baton, runs the race, and hands over to yet another. The composition of team members; totally unexpected! Purposes and destinies merge, ensuring that dreams live on. As for the team composition, it could be within a family, or that which only the figments of our imagination can broach upon.
I have reflected on myself as a writer. Why did I take on the story of Queen Esther for fictional portrayal? What was the inspiration? I have also assessed the extent I may have taken this story beyond the ambits of a traditional church, out through the pristine literary ranks and further, to parts unknown…
Shortly after watching the X Factor, I searched online for more information on Cece’s Alabaster Box. The Wikipedia site had just been updated 23 days earlier and the album was temporarily out of stock! An online search of Lillie revealed that she had been accused of having some wealth of music experience under her arms. While the specifics on who qualifies to perform on that stage is being determined, I am happy that Alabaster box received such great welcome!