I started my morning sad. One of the lead stories on Good Morning America was about Elizabeth Edwards' advancing terminal cancer. It doesn't really matter what your political views are, no one likes to hear that someone is dying. Obviously, I don't know her personally, but I have always felt that she handles herself with such integrity, even during her husband's political career and its issues. She has always come across in interviews like a normal mom, someone who cared about the kids she has here and deeply missed the one who had gone ahead (the Edwards' son, Wade, was killed in a car accident several years ago), but who wanted to use what influence she had in the world for good. They reported that on her Facebook, she continues to post messages of encouragement, reminding us that none of us know how much time we truly have left here. And there's such truth in that.
But I think the thing of it is that I can't hear about Elizabeth Edwards' fight against cancer without thinking about the other women (and men) I have known that fought the brave fight against that awful disease. Some of them were victorious and I am so thankful for those victories! Some of them, however, didn't get the miracle they were hoping for. Instead, they heard the doctors say there was nothing else to do but keep them comfortable, that they had months, weeks, or even days left on Earth. As we get closer to the holiday season, I can't help but think about the ones who have gone on to Glory. I think about Joda, my high school friend who has been gone so long now it seems impossible that much time has passed. I think of Linda and Malesa, whose fights ended just this year. These women faced their situations with a kind of hope, faith and positivity that just blew me away. They were the portraits of grace we hope to be if that cloud darkens our door.
So, as a tribute to those women, as a tribute to anyone who faces the greatest odds and never complains about the injustice of it all, I'm trying to put more kindness into the world. I'm trying to be focused in my actions towards the people I know and those I don't. Because I don't think we have to face a life-threatening illness to see that the world doesn't need more people complaining. It needs compassion. It needs hope. It needs grace. And that's something all of us can give.