by Dianne May, President & CEO
We’ve all heard by now that Elizabeth Edwards has died. She made it clear to friends and family that she didn’t want it said that “she lost her battle with cancer.” In her words, the battle is about living a good life and she won.
As overwhelming and all-consuming as a cancer diagnosis can be, most people come to the conclusion that they don’t want to be defined by their cancer experience. That’s true of many of the difficult challenges that life brings.
Elizabeth lost her first child in an auto accident when he was a teenager. I heard her in an interview once talking about grief and loss. She was firm in her belief that friends and family should never shy away from talking about someone who has died. Rather she believed that such conversations were not so much a reminder that the loved one had died but rather a reminder that the individual had lived and such memories brought joy.
By all accounts, Elizabeth was a strong and nurturing soul, a force to be reckoned with, and a woman who won her battle by living a good life.
The church’s sign said, “Lord, please give me the persistence of a weed.”
Wow, what would it be like to be a weed? To push yourself through an impossibly hard obstacle and stretch your arms to the sun. To bake in burning heat day after day and then glory in a rain shower. To endure repeated cuts and still come back strong.
What would it be like to be a weed? To be as pure and delicate as Queen Anne’s Lace, as blue as cornflowers, and as bright as dandelions.
I’ve decided that weeds are under-valued. I think they have something to teach us. Weeds have adapted over time to survive in places and situations that no one thought would be possible. Cancer can feel like that. Insurmountable, impossible to defeat and yet it happens. People triumph over the disease, sometimes by living long and sometimes by living well. Lord, give me the persistence of a weed.