After a week away, last night Stephen Colbert returned to his increasingly (and deservedly) famous show, The Colbert Report. There was, however, one markedly different thing about his return – for the first three minutes and thirty seconds of the show Mr. Colbert stepped out of the blustery, often-hilarious suit into which he zips himself each weekday evening and showed us the man within. The reason? His mother, Lorna Colbert, passed away one week ago.
The following three and half minutes are witness to a powerful and generous eulogy, to good words delivered by a loving son, and in them there are no shortage of well-carved lines (which should come as no surprise to us, comedic writing being every bit as challenging and formative as dramatic). In order to avoid stepping on over-many of them let me quote just one, my favorite, before turning to the video.
It’s at the 2:01 mark, where Mr. Colbert speaks of the strange mixture of emotions that he feels around the death of his long-lived mother. There he says: “And I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, but the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish – it only magnifies – the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut.” Many of us know that strangely mixed pain, too. Watch here:
When another member of our species, another human being, outlines with truth and eloquence and vulnerability some few of the rough edges of the pain and grace that mark our lives, there is little to do but be grateful.
Today I am grateful for Mr. Colbert, and, yes, for his prodigious talent, too. But even more I am grateful for his deep love, for his faith, and for his mother. May she, and all the faithful departed, rest in the peace and love of God.