Last night I was flipping through the channels and landed on PBS which was airing a biography of Carol Burnett - one of my all-time favorite entertainers. I have fond memories of watching the show with my family, and my mother would laugh so hard she could barely breathe. I never knew much about her childhood before this biography. Her story of endurance and love and what her family termed her "pipe dream" is inspiring.
After Carol Burnett's biography, PBS aired a shorter biography of Erma Bombeck, one of my mom's favorite authors. I would read her column in my mom's magazine's as a kid and found her so funny, engaging, and honest. I wanted to write that way. The biography ended with Erma's untimely death from kidney disease and they captured how she viewed life with one of her most famous pieces:
I always had a dream that when I am asked to give an accounting of my life to a high court, it will be like this: ‘So, empty your pockets. What have you got left of your life? Any dreams that were unfilled? Any unused talent that we gave you when you were born that you still have left? Any unsaid compliments or bits of love that you haven’t spread around?’
And I will answer, “I have nothing to return. I spent everything you gave me. I’m as naked as the day I was born.”
Isn't that how all of us should answer? Why return any bit of energy, any dream or wish or hope? We don't ever get it back. Once we make our graceful exit to the other side, anything we hoped to start, try, or finish will have to fall to someone else. That's no way to go out, and frankly it's not fair to the rest of us for you to be selfish and keep you dreams and talents to yourself. This world needs you; it needs all of us and everything we've got.
The photo above can be found at: http://www.librarything.com/authorpics/bombeckerma2903.jpg