Thursday, November 10, 2022

Christina Grimmie’s Seamless Vision of Life

It has been six years and five months since the young singer-songwriter Christina Grimmie was killed at an open meet-and-greet after a concert in Orlando, Florida on June 10, 2016. As she was reaching out, arms wide open, to welcome a stranger who came from the line, he drew out a Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol from a concealed holster and fired five shots, hitting her once in the head and twice in the chest. She was 22 years old.

Christina was a pioneering YouTube artist for several years before her magnificent run in 2014 on North American mainstream television, making the finals of Season 6 of The Voice. She called her followers “Team Grimmie” and referred to them as “frands” (combining the words “fan” and “friend”). She loved her frands, truly, in a way that is hard to describe. It was an expansive love, a love without calculation, a gratitude for anyone and everyone who listened to her music.

She was a “regular girl” in so many ways, but with an extraordinary talent and a great heart. She gave and received love with a confidence that was willing to take risks, to reach out to strangers, to be radically vulnerable. And Christina would not want us to regard her brief life as merely a tragedy, because—as she professed humbly but unambiguously in moments that called for it—her whole life and everything in it belonged to Jesus Christ, and she lived everything for His glory.

Why does her faith and following of Christ make a difference here? From every natural human perspective and consideration, her death was a crime and a catastrophe, a cause of awful grief, a manifestation of the relentless violence that permeates our society and has only grown more open and brazen since her death. All of this is true, but it is not the final word on the meaning and value of Christina’s life.

Christina saw everything within the embrace of her belonging to Jesus, and in this light we can glimpse the beauty and the “heroism” of her love for her frands, and the passion with which she gave of herself in her music, hoping to inspire others, always expanding the reach of her love, and persevering in that love all the way to the end.