Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tony Snow and the Edwardes

Having watched two family members die of cancer within the past year, the news of Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards has touched me. I have found myself thinking of them many times over the last couple days, especially Tony Snow after hearing that his cancer has returned and has spread to his liver. When he was appointed press secretary to Bush in 2006, I thought he was nuts, not because he was taking a thankless job for a sure-to-be rough ride at the close of a Presidency, but because he had just survived a bout with cancer with radiation, chemotherapy and a portion of his colon surgically removed. After such a sobering brush with mortality, I wondered why would he even think of jumping into such a raging political fire? Had he not reconsidered his life and how he could live each day with unshackled purpose, unfettered to the nonsense and the political gamemanship? I can't help but wonder what Tony Snow is thinking now, if these truly short days have been lived as he dreamed, as a press secretary always on call, whose allegiance must go so far beyond the day-to-day routine.

I watched quietly as Elizabeth Edwards spoke oh-so-bravely of her continued support of her husband, who with her input, decided to continue his campaign for President. Her cancer has spread to her bone with several hot spots flaring in her hip if not elsewhere. And yet, she too decides to keep going, to keep playing the game, to spend what could be her last days speaking on behalf of her husband who just might be the first widowed President to take office. She closed her comments by saying "she chooses to be inspired."

Am I inspired?

In the darkness of our own personal journey with such aggressive cancers as these, it seemed many decisions were created with a similar hope, to continue living despite the likelihood of a soon-to-be dying reality. There were days when we struggled to simply live a normal day, free from a deadly diagnosis. We would try and forget that the days were likely numbered. We rationalized, analysed and trivialized every symptom and hope. We questioned and reasoned aloud that decisions seemed based in a denial, a truth just beyond our reach, rather than with facts none of us wanted to truly live.

The truth we clutched and embraced with our hearts, however, is that all of us wanted more, not of the busy-ness and meaningless conversations, but of the personal truths as can only be conveyed by our souls.

My hope for Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards is that they share the personal truths of their very souls in the spotlight they now command. My hope is that they grip the hearts of the American people with unabashed honesty and bravery of vulnerbility. Each can speak to our hearts now like no other public figure or politician. Their honesty could create a more lasting and meaningful legacy than their continued allegiance to a system in need of great repair regardless of which party they might support.

I will look for those moments of sobering reality when Tony Snow quits playing the game according to someone else's rules, when Elizabeth Edwards tells this country why it is so God-awful important to elect her husband for the Presidency. I will look for what is said in quieter moments of recovery, after they have reviewed their days and determined what is of real value in this life.

My heart is with them and their families in these weeks and months to come.