Thank you, Charles Krauthammer – A Note To Readers
Every so often we all need a mental reboot; A step away from our first person view of life and a glimpse at the bigger picture. Sometimes we have to search for the opportunity, and sometimes it is laid before us as a gift.
This week, Charles Krauthammer laid this gift before all of us.
Charles’ life story is one of resilience, insight, gratitude, tenacity and courage. Now, as his years have been dwindled down to minutes, he chose to spend some of his precious moments leaving a last, lasting lesson for us all.
Professionally he’s accomplished too many extraordinary feats to list, but here are just a few: numerous publications in scholarly journals and news outlets, presidential speech writer, crowned the most influential news commentator in America, and a slew of jaw-dropping awards.
No doubt these professional accomplishments are worthy of pride and emulation, but it is his personal approach to life that serves as an even greater sign of a life well-lived.
He could have given up on achieving anything after his accident. He was young man in the prime of his life, irreversibly injured and robbed of mobility. He may very well have lived the remainder of his life confined not only to a wheelchair but to despair and anger.
Instead, Charles stayed his course and strode through his life with a surer step than many of us ever stride on our own two legs.
Last week Charles Krauthammer stunned the country with the announcement of his terminal condition.
His candid revelation that he has just a few weeks left in this life was outmatched only by the sheer grace and thoughtfulness of the words he chose as his goodbye letter to the public.
Without ever knowing who this man is before reading this letter, anyone who reads it feels as if they have known him forever, and immediately mourns the missed opportunity to have gotten to know him. Those who have been impacted by trauma or tragedy especially appreciate the message of optimism and the example of resilience he packed into this letter.
Without knowing his story one would never guess this letter is written by a man who’s lived from a wheelchair and has been immersed in an intense struggle for so long – and that’s because it wasn’t.
Charles did not write that letter or live his life from a wheelchair. He did both from his heart, and this is what elevated him from despair and mediocrity all his life. It is what lifts him from pain and anger now, and it is what reaches out to all of us, past our own blinders and excuses, to remind us of the true gifts and purpose in life.
There is but one portion of Charles’ letter that projects a misunderstanding of his own life.
“Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work.”
This thank you is well intended but misappropriated, for like anyone, the only person who can give consequence to Charles’ work is himself, and this is precisely what he did.
Thank you, Charles, for spending these moments of your life thinking of others. Thank you for taking the time to share this letter with us when you owed us nothing.
Thank you for your own well-lived life that made such an impact on so many people, and may you know only peace and strength in this life, and hereafter.