The "lion of the Senate" is gone; a great spirit has passed. Shakespeare said that some are born great, and some have greatness thrust upon them. I would add that some are born into really great really fucked-up families and have to thrash around and make terrible mistakes and endure a lot of scorn and judgment and pain before they crawl out of the mud and step by painful step achieve their own kind of greatness.
Ted Kennedy was the widow of his brothers. To think of the torch that he had to carry is enough to make anyone misty-eyed.
I'm moved by his story--as the NY Times put it candidly, "his personal life was a mess." Until he was about sixty. That's a pretty good long run of messiness. And he didn't achieve greatness by force of charisma; he did it be going to work every day and pushing legislation through the Senate. Bo-ring. He never became President. He was constantly being compared to his brothers and the comparisons were mostly unfavorable (until now, when he's dead, and the accolades come out of the woodwork.) He made his own life. And that's the hardest and the best thing any of us can do.
I think about time a lot. The great cathedrals took three generations of workmen to build; the grandfather would humbly toil on the foundations, his son would spend his entire life building the walls and the grandsons, or the great-grandsons would finally finish the roof. A hundred years and more. I always think about the architects who made the plans to begin with, and had to content themselves with visions and faith. What selflessness to lay foundations for God-inspired buildings you know you will never see! What colossal patience.
In my own life, I am so impatient for results. I want things now--want my ideas to transform from thought to word to printed book or produced play fast, faster, NOW Godammit--and they don't. The more impatient I become, the longer the whole thing takes in the end because I send stuff off before it's ready, and it comes right back like a boomerang. Right now, I am putting Love Shack through yet another draft, and all the while I am conscious of the next book which is whispering at the edge of my consciousness...