Some times are lumpy with loss. This week two formative teachers passed away, Madeleine Korbel Albright and Edward C. Johnson III. I could tell how Secretary Albright delighted groups of young students at Wellesley with stories of sisterhood and how Mr. Johnson would come to my holiday parties even though I was a Very Unimportant employee of his at the time. I could note how their quotes, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” and “we are not here for our own amusement” echo constantly in my mind. I could list dozens of lessons that they taught, not through lecture but through example.
Beyond all of that telling and noting and listing, one common attribute shines through for both of them: sincere, unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity. When Madeleine met a new person, she wanted to know the person, weaving together context and community and connection. When Mr. Johnson encountered a new idea, he wanted to pull it apart and poke at the pieces, seeing what was really new and what rhymed with history.
Dear ones, may we stay awake to the wonders of our world.
May we illuminate them for others.
May we inspire with our attention.
May we be married to amazement.
May we take the world into our arms.