Every once in awhile we read a word or sentence that takes our breath away. That’s exactly what happened when Vice President Joe Biden commented at the funeral of his 46 year old son Joseph ‘Beau’ Biden that “a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.” Humility and recognition of something greater than self were so eloquently spoken by a grieving father and leader in our country. These words in context cause us to exhale slowly as we think about the powerful image that comes to mind.
The Biden family experience with loss started early. The tragic death of Beau’s mother and one year old sister in a car accident that seriously injured both Beau and his brother ‘Hunter’ was the beginning. He served two terms (2006-2015) as Delaware’s Attorney General. Beau’s life ended after a two year battle with brain cancer. Yet, through it all his father said he witnessed “the same integrity, courage and strength that he demonstrated every day of his life.”
We know that through all of the life challenges and losses we experience and all the ‘whys’ left unanswered we are ultimately left with a simple truth, ‘life is as it’s supposed to be.’ It doesn’t ease the pain or soothe the open wound of loss yet we know deep down that this simple truth somehow rings true. Some complete their journey sooner than we would have chosen.
Vice President Biden helped us all to remember our jobs, our calling and purpose in life. As parents we know our greatest success is felt in our hearts when we see the type of children we have been fortunate enough to raise. Our other achievements pale by comparison to the feelings we experience when we see them succeed.
Our legacy, what we have ultimately done to make this world a better place, comes in many forms. For Beau Biden it was dedicating his life to the service of others. For others it may be discovering a cutting edge idea, teaching a child or lending a hand to a fellow traveller. Caring is the key as Biden exemplified.
When we demonstrate love and caring to our children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews we give them immeasurable strength to face the challenges that will naturally surface in their own lives. It’s as if we give them an invisible shot of confidence. Everyone needs to feel valued and to know that their life is important to someone other than themselves. When we believe in someone we give them the emotional support that is needed as they try out their life wings. We stand by eager to encourage them to fly higher than we have ever experienced. We listen to them with our head AND heart as they talk about their hopes and dreams. We are in a privileged position, at just the right angle, to see into their souls as we cheer them on. The Universe then smiles and says back to us, ‘Well done.’
Have a great few days!