Senator Kennedy: Rest In Peace
When I think of Senator Edward Kennedy, I will remember him as a powerful force for good. He has championed the rights of ordinary Americans for well over forty years. He was a devoted public servant.
I learned of his death this morning, and although we all knew of his illness over the past year, somehow, many of us hoped against hope that he would somehow summon all of his considerable strength and overpower this most fearsome enemy – the cancer that finally carried him off.
But one interesting detail of his story had been buried so deep within my memory that I was actually jolted when it came up this morning: Returning home one night from a party, a young woman who was a passenger in his car was drowned when his car plunged into the river. Ted Kennedy swam to safety.
In 1969, when I heard this news, I was angry, even outraged, at his behavior. I was quick to speculate on his relationship with Mary Jo Kopekne and the alcohol level in his blood at the time of the accident. I wrote him off as a “light-weight”.
But now, 40 years later, all of that has faded into ancient history. His work in the senate on behalf of the American people has been stellar. His impassioned oratory has been inspiring to millions of us. Even his political enemies have had to bestow a grudging respect for the “Lion of the Senate”.
So here is the take-away for me: redemption. No matter what our mistakes, our failings, our shortcomings, even our sins, there is always the possibility of redemption. We can not go back and fix the past, but in the present, we can at least atone and move on. Where there is life, there is always the possibility of redemption of the soul. It may or may not come from a personal God. And whether or not it can come after we’ve left this earth, it is certainly within our grasp while we are here.
Bravo, Ted Kennedy. Thank you for reminding me that there is always hope for Amazing Grace. Rest in peace.