On Following Your Dreams

March 23, 2012

Kevin Clash, a young African-American puppeteer growing up in the 1970s, didn’t let the obstacles of poverty stand in the way of his dream to work with Jim Henson. His passion for bringing characters to life can be seen in everything he does. You may not know Kevin’s name, but you do know the embodiment of him: Elmo.

In a new documentary about Kevin’s life, Being Elmo is a moving tribute to the human spirit. As we the viewers watch Kevin’s journey unfold, we are able to relate to the obstacles that life affords us all. In Kevin’s case, he didn’t listen to the naysayers. He had one vision: to work on Sesame Street. Lucky for us, his dream came true. But also at a personal cost.

Meeting the demands of being Elmo is not always easy, and Kevin spent most of his time away from his family to make millions of other kids happy. At one point in the documentary, we are shown a scene from his daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party. He gets several celebrities to wish his daughter, Shannon, a happy birthday on film. We watch as he sheds a tear or two and we are confronted with his sense of loss at the years he wasn’t there for her. For a brief moment in time, we are invited into the fantasy world of puppetry and the sacrifice of being in such demand. It is an incredibly moving film that the entire family can enjoy. I highly recommend it!

Life without time is unthinkable. After all, our very existence is nestled neatly betwixt two time notations: the date of our birth and the date of our passing. What we do within those two notations is up to us.

But what happens to those of us left behind when someone’s second time notation comes to pass? How do we grieve the loss and help our children understand it, too?

Katie Couric, Jeanette Betancourt and Sesame Street’s Elmo are talking about these very issues tonight at 8 pm ET on the CBS webcast @katiecouric. You can view it by clicking on this link Watch CBS News Videos Online. The most touching part is how real Katie is throughout the entire interview. She has suffered the loss of her husband and her sister, Emily, whose name graces the cancer center that recently¬† opened in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA.

May we embrace each day with gladness. The pain this life brings is a reminder that we are alive. Cherish each moment, for in each day comes the wisdom of our years.

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