Last week, Kathie Lee Gifford announced her departure from the Today Show after 11 years of wine, wisdom, friendship and hilarity with co-host Hoda Kotb...
What? We're not crying. You're crying.
But really, even apart from the fact that Kathie Lee and Hoda are clearly best friend goals, there's just so much to love about Kathie Lee's perspective on such a huge transition as she leaves something she's loved behind and starts something new.
Her hope for the future is anchored in gratitude for the present.
When NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer asked her what was going through her mind after her announcement, Kathie Lee answered, "Just gratitude. I start my days and end my days the same way: Thank you, God."
She's owning her choices, her words and her faith.
During her announcement, Today Show news anchor Craig Melvin described Kathie Lee this way: "You wear your faith on your sleeve...I've always admired that about you – that even on television, you talk about your Lord and Savior, and you are not ashamed of that."
She answered, "I'd be ashamed not to."
Kathie Lee is nothing if not wholly, authentically, uniquely herself. It made perfect sense for her to announce her departure in her own way: "I wanted [my leaving] to be my story, and not someone else telling my story because as hard as people try, they often get it wrong."
Her hope-filled perspective inspires her creativity...
"I want to do something beautiful and brand new, and learn something brand new on the day I die."
...And transcends her circumstances.
"The biggest thing that I would share with anybody is that people think that your faith is something you bring out on a weekend – either at a temple at a mosque or at a church or wherever you go – people tend to think that, but the Bible says that in Him we live and move and have our being...I think when you start having that mindset, it makes every moment just sparkle with anticipation and excitement and joy."
As we were listening to these words, it occurred to us that Kathie Lee is giving a pretty great definition of living a hope-filled life. For some of us, this month dedicated to gathering family and friends together to share favorite traditions – meals and movies, games and gifts, songs and stories – is a season when hope feels easy to reach for and hold close.
But for some of us, it isn't so easy. For some, this season is a hard season. Maybe there's been loss. Maybe there's illness or conflict or loneliness.Maybe, like Kathie Lee, we're facing a big transition with all the worry and uncertainty that come with it. Maybe for some of us, this season means navigating difficult relationships and emotions that make it hard to feel hopeful.
Maybe that's why Kathie Lee's words as she ends her time on the Today Show strike a chord with us: because they echo the same hope that she spoke about when she shared her story with I Am Second earlier this year following the season of grief and loneliness she went through after the loss of her husband in 2015.
"I've discovered that if I just keep thinking about what I've lost, I don't pay any attention to what I still have. I don't want to live my life in hopelessness...life does beat you down, loss beats you down, hardship takes its toll, illness destroys your body, but Jesus said, 'It's not going to be easy.' He said, 'In this world you will have trouble, but rejoice. Take heart. I have overcome the world. And because I have, I will empower you to overcome your world.'"
Something we've learned from Kathie Lee is that it is possible to live with hope whether we're experiencing an exciting season of new beginnings and creative endeavors, or a painful season of loss. This December, wherever you find yourself, know that we're holding you in our hearts with hope – celebrating your joy, standing with you in your pain, and praying for goodness beyond your expectations as 2018 comes to an end.
You can Kathie Lee's full film with I Am Second here.