I expect a lot will be written about Jimmy Carter in the days to come. Hopefully the days can stretch into weeks and months as he embarks on his latest “adventure.”
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or had your head buried in the sand or, well, I’m out of trite, hackneyed (redundancy there) phrases so I’ll stop there…suffice it to say that if you’ve not been aware, Jimmy Carter is now engaged in a battle with melanoma. Where it started is unknown, but at present the most worrisome it seems are the spots on his brain that have shown up.
What an incredible individual. He sat through a press conference today in which he spared no details of his diagnosis, his personal thoughts and fears about it, his strategies for dealing with it and the humility and grace which has been his hallmark for all of his public life.
I don’t care what anyone says. I like Jimmy Carter. President Carter that is. I liked him in 1976 (when I was 9 years old and Meeker Elementary School had a mock election in which then candidate Carter won, followed by the real election which he also won!!). I liked him through the end of the 70’s even when there were no Christmas lights to drive about and see due to the energy shortage. I became more interested in my teenage life than in politics so it’s not that I stopped liking him through the 1980’s. I just had more important things to ruminate on (do I really need to tell you what those were??).
But then I started liking President Carter again once I got past the angst of those teenage years and began my life as a young adult. I admired his work abroad–free and fair elections worldwide, advocating for peace in the Middle East, working tirelessly at eradication of disease. I marveled at his energy working with Habitat for Humanity. I was humbled by his humility. He had to have known what people said about him. He had to have heard the jeers and taunts still bandied about today by those in the political arena. And yet he simply got to work doing what he could to make the world a better place in some way or another.
The man is a study in grace. Humility. Service. We would do well to emulate his very being.
And now, at the end of his life, to be faced with yet one more challenge, to be able to do so with such peace and calm and serenity is truly inspiring.
This world needs more Jimmy Carters. We always have. We always will.
Slainte President Carter. I raise a glass to you and wish you well in your fight. May your way be peaceful. May you feel moments of grace. May you someday understand there are so many who truly believe in you and what you have set out to do with your life, who are in awe of your accomplishments, of your humility. May you be comforted by knowing how much good you have put out into the world and may that good come back to you many times over.
You are truly a man like no other. Blessings be on you and yours.