What interests me about Elizabeth Edwards were her eyes. Perhaps her lovely aquamarine eyes were merely a result of genetic inheritance, but I sense that those eyes were much more than that – that they reflected her inner, transcendent character.
Her luminous eyes might also serve us as a lens that we might borrow through which we can view our own challenges.
She was, indeed, a bearer of the “gospel of resilience.” The word gospel means “good news.” For all of us who struggle with issues of fidelity, child loss and terminal illness, her story offers numerous symbolic places to gain a foothold in moving toward good news.
Life was not handed to Elizabeth Edwards. Her challenges were numerous. And public. There were no apparent fairy tales for Elizabeth.
What she evidenced was a fierce commitment to hard work, determinism, family and community. The interviews she granted seem to indicate that these commitments are what got her through many setbacks and challenges in her life.
Elizabeth’s loss of her son Wade when he was 16 resulted, by her own reports, in being a catalyst for personal clarity. Wade’s strange car accident and death resulted in the manifestation of many brave and life-affirming commitments in Elizabeth’s work and personal life.
Elizabeth was also informed by her experience with losing her son when she was challenged to face her own mortality. Death, to Elizabeth, was not as frightening as it might have been because she had already lost Wade. Her view of death was interpreted through the language of losing someone she had deeply loved. It was, again, about relationships for Elizabeth.
And just when I think, in looking at Ms. Edwards, that she was made of tougher metal than I, I reacquaint myself with the following quote:
“… people who knew we had lost a son said, ‘You are so strong,’ and when I had breast cancer, people would say, ‘You are so strong,’ and I thought, they don’t know that there’s a trick to being strong, and the trick is that nobody does it alone.” (Associated Press).
This trick – of not doing it alone – could be a litmus test for us all. Particularly in the holiday season… to ask yourself how are you doing at using this trick of not doing it alone. Where are the threads of connectivity to support you and for you to offer your support to others?
If you sense that your doing it alone too much – I would invite you to participate more deeply here on the Open to Hope website. This is a great place to start or increase your participation in giving and receiving support.
Kim Go 2010