Elizabeth Edwards

On Elizabeth Edwards:

My beloved mother refuses to watch sad movies. For a long time, even a sad scene in an otherwise happy movie was enough to convince her to refuse it. This was part of her method of turning off depressing or sorrowful thoughts, and focusing her life on happiness and joy. She has had more luck than most I know in taking control of her life, so there is probably something to the method.

A genuine tragedy, however, has the potential to be powerfully uplifting. There is a reason the "song of the goat" has been so popular since Ancient Greece, and it is the same reason that Shakespeare's greatest works are his tragedies. It is the same reason that the mountains are most majestic when you stand at the lowest place beneath them.

Alas, the life of Elizabeth Edwards has been a tragedy. I mean no offense by saying so. J. R. R. Tolkien's beautiful work on "subcreation" is best realized in his Silmarillion, with its description of the creation as a work of art: creation as a song. The tragedy also can be a song, and in fact reaches one of its peaks in the songs of opera. It may be that God wants to hear such songs, and asks them of us, from time to time.

Some who have heard that song have written well of it lately. It is a tribute to that sorrowful lady that pieces of almost unbearable sadness have been written in her name. Two such are here, and here. But they are not equal pieces. The sadness of the one is her own. The sadness of the other is the author's, a good man, and a blind.

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