A very classy, forgiving, gracious and loving woman died yesterday. As I’m sure you have heard now Elizabeth Edwards lost her battle with cancer yesterday at the age of 61. I appreciate the life she lived and the energy she fought her life’s battles with. She undoubtedly put her family first far above herself in all ways every day. When her husband was running for VP and later for President she and their children traveled with them. She homeschooled her children so that they could all be together and support him. Whatever path her husband walked she chose to walk next to him. She fought valiantly always putting others above herself. I loved watching her in the news. No matter what unbearable pain – physically and emotionally – she had to be enduring she smiled and always walked on with her head held high. She shook thousands of hands, hugged thousands of necks and no doubt listened to thousands of people share their similar journeys with her. While I never met her in person or even saw her in a crowd, I feel like I knew her. No, I have not buried a child. No, I have not, personally, fought cancer. No, I have not had a husband who betrayed me and lied so viciously to me. No, I have never gone through a broken marriage. But I do have a few things in common with her that makes me identify with her. I do know the sacrifice that comes with having children. I have been a homeschooling mom. I do suffer unrelenting pain although mine is from Fibromyalgia and not cancer. I do know emotional pain in the form of depression. I do/have lived in a fishbowl as a result of my husband’s job/s. I know what it is like to have your actions judged and what it means to have to live your life based on what someone else will think about you.
What I do NOT think I have in common with her is the grace with which she handled her life. She was a wonderful example of what a Proverbs 31 woman is supposed to be. Here is the Proverbs 31 passage. I have highlighted the lines that I believe she exhibited with brilliance.
A Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm[c] clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
I believe the only eulogy needed at her funeral will be for someone to read this passage of scripture. She was a blessing to so many but above all she was a blessing to her family – even her husband who returned her undying love with lies and by breaking her heart. While I’m not sure if she was a Christian or not I certainly hope that she was. If anyone “deserves” to rest in peace in the arms of the Lord, it is Elizabeth Edwards. I pray that I put into action the things I have learned by watching her live her public life.
Elizabeth, thank you for the example of grace, peace, love, loyalty, faithfulness, unselfishness and noble character you have shown the world. If all the women who have seen you live out your life on TV could learn even a small part of graciousness and dignity from you the world would be a better place and our families would be better off for it.
I pray you are resting peacefully in the arms of your Creator today.