America admired her famous French chef. She owned a squeaky voice, and her 6-foot-2 inch frame was only dwarfed by her quirky personality. America's French chef was born into privilege. She was educated in the finest private schools in California. She graduated from an Ivy League private women's college on the east coast. She traveled abroad extensively, and later lived in Europe. She studied at the internationally known "Le Cordon Bleu" cooking school. Not a problem — she and her husband lived on a healthy trust fund left to her by her mother.
Within a few years, her Julia Child's name was on cookbooks and in magazines. She guest starred on the morning shows, on cooking shows, and on late night comedy shows. She even had her own cooking show. Her use of butter and heavy cream in her recipes was common, because "Only the finest ingredients!" was her motto. As her popularity grew, so did her personal wealth.
America's chef occasionally used her cooking skills for fundraisers. Her favorite charity was probably the most controversial charity in America. As the years progressed, death claimed her spouse. Since she had no children of her own, a few of her extended family members became close to her, and their passing was equally as difficult. By now, America's chef was in a wheelchair and she was living an expensive and elite nursing home. When she died, her friends offered a toast to her and her cooking. That was it.
My question is: Did she want more? Was there anything in her that yearned for more? Is that all there is to life? Because when we die, everyone goes out to the same: Rich or poor, famous or infamous, known or unknown … is that all there is?
Now focus on a poor little girl born in Tennessee, and as a child suffered with polio. In spite of early childhood difficulties, the Olympic athlete Wilma Rudolph, who went on to win many Olympic medals made this comment after she had hit her pinnacle: "What do you do after you are world famous and nineteen or twenty and you have sat with prime ministers, kings and queens, the Pope? Do you go back home and take a job? What do you do to keep your sanity? You come back to the real world."
Rudolph had all that the world could offer but still there was something lacking. Then she came to a conclusion. Her faith was strong, her faith was real, the compass by which she led her life. At the beginnings of her new found success and fame, she did some soul searching. She said: "When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God why was I here? What was my purpose? Surely, it wasn't just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that."
And for Wilma Rudolph, she found the answer. She used the platform of running to express her faith. To illustrate the source of her happiness in life and her faith in God, she often quoted the second verse of a hymn as her theme: "Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee." Then she explained her faith in God as a small child and how she had experienced that faith in many competitive situations.
That is not to say that I do not admire the famous chef. I do. But to be admired as to leave your mark on the Kingdom of God in such a way that it inspires people still to understand that true happiness finds it source in God is even more admirable to me. That is a legacy worthy of living.
— Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org