Three Parts Random, One Part Ridiculous

48337, NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Wednesday December 8, 2010. John Lennon is remembered on the 30th Anniversary of his death at Strawberry Fields, Central Park in Manhattan. The former Beatles band member was shot and killed outside of his home at the Dakota on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Lennon would have turned 70 this year. Photograph:  Dan Callister, PacificCoastNews.com

I have a few things to say and one has little to do with the other. Let randomness rule and here's hoping I don't zig when I should have zagged.

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Question: Was Elizabeth Edwards a victim or a hero?

Answer: Yes.

Elizabeth Edwards died yesterday. She was the wife of two-time presidential candidate John Edwards. She was, more importantly, a model mother, a noted author, a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, and a person who seemed to live her life for the benefit of others.

Elizabeth Edwards was a victim of terrible circumstance when, in 1996, her 16 year old son, Wade, died in a tragic car accident. She became a hero to other parents suffering similar losses, because of the graceful way she dealt with her own loss.

Elizabeth Edwards was a victim of breast cancer, a disease she battled for six years. Her battle was very public, because, at the time she learned she had cancer, her husband was a candidate for vice president of the United States. She became a hero to millions of women and their families because of the valiant, noble way she handled herself during the battle.

Mrs. Edwards left behind three children, ranging in ages from 10 to 28. During an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes, she said, “The most important thing you can give your children are wings, because you're not going to always be able to bring food to the nest; sometimes they're going to have to be able to fly by themselves."

Elizabeth Edwards was a victim of infidelity. Her unfaithful politician husband, John, cheated on her and fathered a baby with campaign staffer Reille Hunter. She had to deal with the humiliation and embarrassment of that on a very public stage, while she battled cancer. Once again, however, this gracious woman became a hero in the way she conducted herself with dignity and class. She refused to let bitterness override what was best for her children. Consequently, John was right there at her side when she died.

“Elizabeth always believed that you lead by example,” John Boylan, a friend and former campaign manager for John, said when asked how she got the youngsters ready for her death, “and I think that's what she did with her children. She led a life of dignity. She led a life that made a real difference. Her children saw that. They saw the strength in their mother. They saw the love of their mother. And I think they will be very, very strong people going forward.”

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Yesterday also marked the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon. Truthfully, in 1980, the Beatles may as well have been the Monkees for all the impact they had on my life. (I know. You Beatles buffs, save your fiery remarks for someone who cares.)

I have since discovered and appreciated their genius.

I remember the night Howard Cosell broke the news during the course of a Monday Night Football game. That is, I remember it happening. I don't remember the game. I don't remember feeling kicked in the gut, either. I do remember that almost everyone else felt that way, which set me on my way to trying to figure out why these four Brits were so special to everyone.

One thing that came of Lennon's death was immortality. I am not speaking of how he moved on to the next plane, or about wherever he may be spending eternity. I mean that he was forever canonized because of his untimely, premature death.

It occurs to me that the best way for a rock star, movie star, professional athlete, politician, or any other public figure to go from good to great, from great to greatness, from greatness to transcendent is to die prematurely.

Consider the list: Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, James Dean, Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe, and of course, Elvis Presley. This list is not exhaustive, but representative. Each of these people, like Lennon, was already notable. Some were even iconic. But each became immortal because of a tragic, premature death.

I am not suggesting this as a strategy for anyone. Just saying.

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Speaking of John Lennon, Imagine all the people...a figment of the imagination.

I woke from a very vivid dream this morning and its aftermath sent my brain into frenzied road-swerve. Philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Hegel questioned whether anything we call reality is really real. Some of the philosophers of the Russell order say that nothing is real but the mind.

Of course, I don't believe that.

My dream, however, was very real and orderly and I can still remember the euphoria I felt when I sold a car to my cousin for $800,000. The stress relief was immediate. All the pressing money issues that result from not working a storm for nearly four months evaporated as my wife and I counted the money together.

Then I woke up...

And started thinking. In my dream, I had constructed a world, similar to the one in which I live, made up of people I know and a few my mind somehow comprised. When I woke, they evaporated. The dream died. Reality, such as it is, prevailed.

What if I am but a figment of some being's imagination? What if the world in which you and I live is but a dream? It is an elaborate, vivid dream, to be sure. Detailed. It even assumes a massively complicated history. In this dream, there is suffering and loss, joy and triumph, ups and downs. There is assumed history. That is how dreams go.

Like a dream, the question of origins is murky. Some think they know how it all happened. We who believe the Bible know better.

Here we are in this being's mind. We are everything he imagines us to be.

I am a husband. I am a father. I am a grandfather. I am a son and grandson. I am here today, gone tomorrow. I am...

A 10 minute catnap?

Does it all just end when he wakes up to the fleeting fragments of a dream that seemed so real? And what if he is but a dream? And so on.

I told you it was absurdity. And, no, it wasn't inspired by Leonardo DiCapprio's movie, Inception. Or was that just a dream?

None of this is worth wasting another minute on, especially when you remember what James, the brother of Jesus wrote about life the way it really is:

How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. –James 4:14 (NLT)