Saturday, August 29, 2009
There are times in ones life when the passing of a 'larger than life' individual will leave you remembering where you were when you heard the news. The death of Ted Kennedy was one of those profound moments. I heard of his death while being near water in Maine. That felt appropriate since sea water flowed through his veins.
A life well lived let him weather many personal storms in his 77 years. He saw too many younger than himself die, buried too many relatives and yet he did not quit. He persevered and continued. I'll miss his Irish grin and determination. His service and selflessness will remind us of the purpose we can bring to our own lives. His gracious compassion will live on.
His personality let him be a part of everyone. His passing has helped me find within myself a determination to move forward in difficult times, since he too was not a quitter. If he was, he would have quit long ago.
It is lessons such as this that we can take from the passing of such people.
They shape so many lives while quietly going about their own.
Perhaps this is the marker of what it means to be fully human and fully alive.
Long a champion of those less fortunate, to me, he was the metaphor of a life well-lived. His broad grin and bright eyes gleamed with hope. He made the future feel possible.
He in no way was perfect.
None of us are.
His past a myriad of all that makes us human.
He made mistakes but knew that because he loved a forgiving God, he could move forward. This is the fundamental belief of being Catholic and he lived his faith. He was dealt his fair share of tragedy amidst a life of great privilege. Perhaps it was this loss that gave him endless compassion for people of all walks of life and in doing so garnered the respect of his family and many who fundamentally disagreed with him.
He had soul.
His good friend President Obama said this in his eulogy "The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became."
Ted Kennedy made a difference.