Speaking last year at the memorial service for her grandmother – Al Gore’s mother – novelist Kristin Gore passed on a lesson that struck me as worth sharing, especially in this holiday week:
I had just turned seven and my Aunt Nancy had just passed away, and I didn’t understand and I missed her. I’d locked myself in my grandparents’ room and I was crying on the bed, and my grandmother came and knocked on the door. I let her in and she sat on the bed with me and said, ‘Now, if you stop crying, I’m going to tell you a secret about your heart.’ When you’re a little kid, you really want to know secrets, so this was very good motivation. I stopped crying and she said, ‘The secret to your heart is that it can be filled up by lots of different things. It can be filled up by sadness, or it can be filled up by anger, or bitterness, but it can also get filled up by love, and joy, and happiness.’ She told me that the job for my life was to make sure there was always a whole lot of room for love. That those other things would come in, and when they did, I had to make an extra effort to value love above all else. It’s a very simple lesson, but really the most important one I’ve ever received.
Pass it on.
Happy New Year.
If I don’t get around to a column tomorrow, see you in 2006.