Apologies to those who are sick of the non-stop media frenzy over the death of Ted Kennedy, but I feel compelled to add my own two particular cents.
By the time I became aware of politics and world issues as a teenager, Ted Kennedy had become a figure of ridicule. A political satirist’s dream. A symbol of misspent hopes and expectations. There was a period of time in the early 90s, during the trial of his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, where the phrase “Uncle Teddy” conjured up images of the drunken, lecherous older male relative that exists in virtually every family. He was a man who had never quite lived up to the potential of his youth, a man who would never overcome the ghosts of the past.
I found myself weeping yesterday as I watched his funeral on television. I wept because it was clear that this was a man who was loved dearly by all of his family and friends. Respected by his colleagues and the people that he represented for so many years. Clearly adored by his wife, who he met later in his life.
How many of us will be able to say at the end of our lives that we touched so many people, so deeply? How many of us can say that we rose above our own faults to make the world better for those less fortunate than ourselves?
The truth is, we are all capable of writing our own second acts. Whether it comes from the redemptive power of true love, or God, or just the plain belief in the better angels of our human nature, we are all endowed with the power to choose our paths.
There is darkness in all of us. There are times when we disappoint ourselves and people around us. We start to believe that our best years are behind us, that potential has been squandered, that painful experiences or poor choices in our past dictate our future.
Ted Kennedy was a man with deeply human flaws, and yet he overcame them to achieve incredible things in his professional and personal life. He accepted his limitations, asked for forgiveness when necessary, and moved forward.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, if you’ll kindly take your seats…the second act is about to start.
The Sin and Redemption is a fine pub at the corner of McCaul and Dundas. I knew it was a special place the night I stopped by and saw all of the clergy from St. Patrick’s having dinner…and a few pints. Teddy would have loved it.