Saturday, August 29, 2009

Joyful Surrender

The bookends were magnificent. Joe Kennedy for Senate. Caroline was sublime in her celebration. John Culver's mastery of the story, Orrin Hatch's nervous love, Duval Patrick's eloquent manner, Joe Biden's admiration and need of love from such a man that knows loss, and the emotional John McCain.

The boys and the youngest generation were so much more powerful than the moving eulogy by President Obama. What would he have said if he wasn't cloaked in the formality of his position? The homily by the (I can't remember the Father's name.) Priest was magnificent. Most moving to me was the responsorial, Psalm 72, by Kara.

As the evening closed, Teddy's letter to Pope Benedictine was, again, sublime, oh to be able to command such potency. And his dictated response of "joyful surrender." His grandchildren wept at his casket in the light from the cars in the procession.

I went to Ted Kennedy's wake. I walked from the Expo to the Library. These places I've been to many, many times, except this time I was hoping they would move me differently. My mind was blank as I walked by the fields I played soccer and underneath the buildings in which I took classes. Without intention, I waited for the wake to begin with a woman I go to church with but don't know well. We discussed each other and what Ted meant to us. The morning wasn't unusual or usual for that matter.

As we waited in line, people walked by, small discussions were overheard, cameras both still and motion, but I couldn't muster a sense of death. The moment wasn't big, even as it was a big moment. I wanted more, however, even as I and many others that morning met Ted's daughter Kara and her children Max and Grace, it didn't register. I met Jesse Jackson and surely he would elicit something, but he didn't.

I continued on to the office, reflecting on how nice it was to spend time with someone I wouldn't except to sit next to in church on occasion. I learned good things and nice things about her as she did about me. We walked by the casket and all I could think was the Honor Guard is so stoic. Teddy was stoic, but didn't carry himself in such ways. Teddy brought his ideals to America and Massachusetts, and it is in that way that he is different. The Senator sought to make your life better too, not just mine.

As an individual, Teddy and I don't see the same glass of water. Although I have voted for him more than once, its because his efforts further causes that mean something to me: education and mental illness. I will find the quote from Caroline on Friday, but its the future and while Teddy isn't there to attain that future he fought so hard for, it is within our grasp. Keep up the good fight. Give to those who are struggling and are fighting to make it.

Both sides, liberal and conservative, republican and democrat, gay and straight, black and white, are looking for the same sustaining ideals set before us even as they don't take the same road. The efficacy of Teddy is the ability to find compromise without sacrificing his principles.

I want to finish strong, but I spent three days with Teddy, his family, and, in particular, my wife discussing stuff that means something. I am spent, a selfish statement in the wake of the vigil an Irish family gives their dead. I have prayed, cried, laughed, joked, and reflected upon a wide range of topics. I look forward to the quiet reflection in the coming days. I gave myself to this moment and I hope I take something from it.

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