For a long time I have hoped to visit a Presidential library.  History gets muddled in the spin from the media and pundits.  Citizens of our great nations are almost afraid to expression appreciation for any public figure, dreading the ire that will pour forth from the gaping mouths of throats dredging up junk.

Now, away from the limelight and living the quiet life of a private citizen, George H. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, is passing his final days with his family.  Volunteers at the library speak so warmly of this first couple.  A number of them called them “real” people.  They are touted as full of warmth and joy.

I asked the President where he turned for guidance during troubled times.  He told me that he turned to his faith where he never failed to find solace, courage and encouragement to keep on leading.  Personally, he added that it was family that counted the most.

Then, he also wrote clearly that he wanted to add friends to that short list.  He repeated the trio with confidence.  When times were tough he found that his faith, family and friends gave him all that he needed to keep encouraged to do his duty.  It was succinct and potent.

Thinking deeply, he quoted Lincoln, “Everyone who serves as President must spend time on his knees.” 

As the life of this remarkable man unfolded in his museum, I wondered how he would portray his failed attempt for reelection.  He had a great deal of success during his first term.  But, the odd third-party intrusion tipped the scale toward another winner.

Even in disappointment he said that he never looked on the Presidency as an entitlement.  He did his best, he was not successful at his reelection but he was not bitter.  Simply, he said they went back their house in Texas and kept on living and making a difference in the lives of people where they could.

Does humility count?  Can an effective leader be honorable both in service and retirement?  Once the political rhetoric dies down and people can return to their humanity, can good people still be good once again?

I have looked into the eyes of the critical, the wicked and the self-absorbed self-righteous who believe that their opinion has value and defines the truth.  But, once their worst is done, good people keep on making a difference.  They who are good keep on helping others.

photo credit: brucefong photography

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