"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human.
But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know."
This last Facebook post from Elizabeth Edwards continues to haunt me, especially at this time of year. Perhaps it's because my mom and all of my grandparents died within a few weeks of Christmas. So this holiday always reminds me of family, and of those who have gone before, and of my own mortality.
Or perhaps her words had the impact they did because what she wrote is so rich. To speak of gratitude and love and hope in the face of death requires an almost supernatural grace. A grace that she clearly had.
And maybe that is why people were so deeply moved. In a time in which we might rightly ask if all civility has vanished from America, a time in which mean-spiritedness is exalted and rewarded, along comes Ms. Edwards to remind us of the infinitely greater power of good.
"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that."
We do know that. That's why we want to leave a mark, to make a difference for good, and for so many, to create family. There is something about a part of us continuing into the future long after we are gone that appeals to us.
So here we are once again. Christmas. The New Year. The magic of January 1, a clean slate and infinite possibilities. What would happen if we all committed to a life of grace, a life of hope, a life, in Ms. Edward's words, in which we all made a "...daily effort to have a positive impact in the world..."?
This is my New Year's wish for us all. For our families. For our children. And for the children we hope to have.