March 24, 2007
Elizabeth Edwards, or What Would You Do With the Rest of Your Life?
Posted by Christine Hurt

I've been following the Elizabeth Edwards story very closely because I'm a great admirer of hers.  Perhaps I feel an affinity toward her -- an attorney, a mother, even once a legal writing instructor.  At the end of the 2004 campaign, as we know now, she was diagnosed with fairly advanced breast cancer.  And, as we learned on Thursday, that cancer has now metastacized, at least to her rib, creating an incurable condition with an uncertain prognosis.  Yet, John and Elizabeth Edwards announced on Thursday that the John Edwards for President campaign will go on; and now, the critics come out to proclaim this brave and noble or selfish and misguided.

Here is my take on their decision.  What would you do if you were told that on average, you might have 4-5 years to live, but on one side of the tail you could have far less and on the other possibly 10?  Many of us would drop everything, liquidate assets and travel the world.  The Edwards family has had unlimited resources for quite awhile.  If it is Elizabeth Edwards' dream to travel the world, she would have done so already, and she may already have.  She grew up in a military family and lived in different parts of Asia, so foreign travel may not be a lingering desire.  We might want to quit our jobs to spend every single second with our children, especially small ones like Jack (6) and Emma Claire (8).  But how long can you snuggle with them, hunkered down waiting?  A few years?  What about 5?  What could you give them that would last after you were gone?

I believe that Ms. Edwards, who grew up in a military family, has always had a sense of public life and a sense that some things are bigger than her, whether her father's missions, one of John Edwards' class action cases or his senatorial duties.  She went to law school, and her daughter is in law school now.  She enjoys public speaking, and she enjoys meeting people and talking to them about what is troubling them.  I can imagine that she asked herself, if she is only going to be here for 4-5 years, what would she like to do, and I think the answer was campaign for and be First Lady of the United States.  Write my children's names into the history books and help my husband accomplish a long-term goal of making a difference.  Sure, whenever someone runs for high office, there is an element of selfish ambition, but there's also a sense of contribution and service.  I'm sure both these elements contribute to the final decision, but I like to think that the main motivation is a sense of calling. 

I think many of us would want to spend the remainder of our lives, however short, fulfilling our calling.  I think Elizabeth Edwards deserves to try to do the same. 

Politics | Bookmark

TrackBacks (1)

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Links to weblogs that reference Elizabeth Edwards, or What Would You Do With the Rest of Your Life?:

» Elizabeth Edwards, the Woman of the Century from The Gun Toting Liberal ™ ...
" Courage comes in many forms that some would call heroic and yet others would willingly argue the a ..." [more] (Tracked on March 24, 2007 @ 10:37)
Recent Comments
Popular Threads
Search The Glom
The Glom on Twitter
Archives by Topic
Archives by Date
January 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Miscellaneous Links