Friday, June 3, 2011

Humility is an Honest Quality...

On Wednesday evening, I (and 2499 of my "closest" friends) spent our time with the President. Former President George W. Bush, that is. "W" is a man who spent 8 years under the scrutiny of a nation and the national media. His every step being monitored, questioned, and judged. For his term as President was marked with a national tragedy unlike anything seen my generation or many others. An act of terrorism was committed on our soil and it was up to "W" to lead 280+ million people as cohesively as he could.

Was this an easy feat for any man? No. Would any man make mistakes along the way? Yes. How many people had the privilege of leading our nation prior to Bush? 42. Did this fact go to his head? No. One Wednesday evening, we were treated to a night of comfortable conversation, good natured humor, anecdotal nostalgia and the occasional plug of his new book.

"W" took center stage at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce's Annual Dinner at approximately 8 pm and shared with us the highs and lows of his presidency. Making no apologies for being committed to faith, mission and serving the people of the United States, Bush recounted his thoughts and feelings behind some of hardest decisions made as the Commander in Chief. He was relentless in his praise of our armed forces, his emphasis on the need for a principled mind and moral fiber to run the country, and of course in his desire to never criticize his predecessor.

The common theme that peppered every quote, joke, and story he shared? Humility. This man ran our country. He's one of 44 to have this commendable privilege. Did it go to his head? No. He's real, raw and at times, self-effacing.

Am I looking to convert you to his fan club? No. In fact, all I hope to accomplish in this musing of mine is to share the fact that I enjoyed my time listening to the President. I admit I was riveted by what he had to say, because I hold a great deal of respect for the office he formerly held. If I could impart only two (of the many) impactful points he spoke, I'd choose:
  • "How can I point out the speck in your eye, when I've got a log in my own. The most important verse for any President."
  • "I will not criticize my predecessor. I believe when you leave the Office, you exit the stage."
Thank you, Mr. President. It was a sincerest pleasure.