(From October 2016) On Monday, October 10, we celebrate Carol’s 65th birthday. This is the second birthday celebration since she left us in December, 2014.
“Celebrate” is the right word. Carol had a wonderful life, and that is something to celebrate. And she left us a wonderful gift—a treasure.
We spend our lives marking time—birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions that call for a special card or a gift. We can’t do that for Carol, of course. Like the hummingbird in her story, she is floating free of time. But this is a great day to acknowledge the gift she has left for us.
In the last fifteen months, I have appeared at over 100 venues in 20 states to talk about Carol and her beautiful book. The responses have been uniformly amazing. People everywhere are embracing the story of her transformational friendship with Giles Owita, the gardener from Kenya who was described by Oprah.com as “… one of the most refined and gracious characters to ever hit the page (except that he is real)….” Our journey with this story is just beginning.
As I have travelled and listened to people talk, I hear about the other themes that resonate widely and deeply. Carol says that Giles taught her “what we do when the script we have written for our life does not work out…how do we graciously slip into Plan B.” When I started this journey last summer, I said that I am a walking “Plan B”. I’m not supposed to be talking about her and her work. We had planned for her to do that. I was the “manager”. My jobs would be making the travel arrangements and managing the logistics of going from one place to the next. It didn’t work out that way.
Instead, my life has changed. It will never be the same again. There is no “cure” for catastrophic personal loss. We never get over things like this, but we can heal. And her story is all about healing. Her gift to me is the growing realization that, just because my life will never be the same again does not mean that it will be terrible every day. Healing is real.
As Giles said, “Every day brings something good.” And Carol tells us that “the ground in winter…holds a thousand lovely secrets.” Two lessons for living.
So we pause today to acknowledge Carol and her gift to us.