My favorite video on YouTube isn't about cats or people falling. In fact, it isn't funny at all. I want to tell you about the man who's in it.
It's a video of a gray-haired man speaking without notes to the families of veterans who never made it back home. And it will make you cry. The man speaks with a sincerity that is unusual for gray-haired men in dark suits. He has an authenticity that has clearly been earned from hardship and pain.
Joe Biden, the man in the video, is often mocked and ridiculed by political pundits and media personalities -- and I get it. "Uncle Joe," the character of a friendly working class guy who, by some stroke of luck, made it from Scranton to the Vice Presidency, makes for an easy target. He's the guy who "can't keep his foot out of his mouth." He is always smiling, laughing, telling jokes -- sometimes when he's not supposed to.
But I want you to know this: that character is not the real Joe Biden. No caricature is an accurate reflection of any of us.
Those familiar with Vice President Biden's story know that right after being elected to the United States Senate as a 29-year-old young man, he lost his wife and daughter in a terrible car accident that also left his two sons hospitalized. His whole life crumbled in seconds. It devastated him to the point of no longer wanting to serve in the Senate.
"Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can’t get another father," he said.
Eventually, at the urging of some giants in American political history, Joe took the oath – next to his sons’ hospital beds -- and the rest is history. He's passed major legislation, sat across from every world leader you can think of, and impacted the lives of many people.
But on Saturday, our Vice President lost another child -- the same little boy who survived that terrible car crash and grew up to be the Attorney General of Delaware. At 46 years old, Beau Biden lost his battle with brain cancer -- and he leaves behind his wife and two kids.
In Dr. Jon Bullock's Ted Talk, he asks us: "What's in your bag?" What experiences, thoughts, hopes, fears, worries and dreams do you silently carry around with you every single day? Everybody has a bag -- and some days it's heavier than others. And today, that makes me think of Joe Biden.
As I mentioned, Joe Biden is sometimes made fun of for laughing too much. As Anthea Butler, professor of religious studies at University of Pennsylvania put it, "It's a miracle he can laugh at all."
In the YouTube video, Vice President Biden has a wish for the families of deceased veterans: "There will come a day, I promise you, when the thought of your loved one brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye."
I hope that day comes again for Vice President Biden. And I hope we can all keep in mind the words of the Rev. John Watson: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."