Clarence the angel says, “Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole...”
It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? I suspect all of us have experienced the hole that Clarence refers to. In looking back across the months, to the friends and family members who are no longer with us, it can indeed seem awful.
Collectively, we’ve felt this absence through the leave-taking of several public figures, three of whom I write of today.
Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) helped us remember, that which we want to forget. In his efforts, he taught us that in remembering, we grow in our humanity. The tenuous balance between good and evil tipped towards greatness through his efforts. We are better because of him.
Gwen Ifill (1955-2016) spoke her truth unflinchingly. Her love of justice and her unquestionable grace put the spotlight on the shadows of life and helped us do the same. Like Wiesel, we are better because of her.
Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) reached into the closed areas of our soul and sang a Hallelujah that evoked our tears. His songs gave voice to that which swarms our hearts and colors our dreams. Like Wiesel and Ifill, we are better because of him.
There are days when we might wonder why we are here, or if there is anything we can offer. At times like this, think about these three individuals. One lived through the worst of human history and simply asked us to remember; another embraced her role as journalist and shared the importance of speaking our truth; and a third dared to let his heart sing and invited us to do the same. Their gifts are our own. We all can remember, we all can speak our truth, and we all can let our hearts sing.
During this time of miracles, when angels dance across the stages of our schools and theatres, when reindeers fly across the heavens, and Santa comes down the chimney, during this season of hope when the supernatural becomes the natural, I embrace the wonder of you. For I know that someday all too soon, a hole will appear where you once held me - by simply being beautiful you.