Tuesday, September 28, 2004

An e-mail worth reading

This is an e-mail that I got from a Pastor friend of ours in San Francisco. IT's worth reading...

sorry its a bit long, but try to finish it...and by the way, it's all true...Bruce Vincent is a real guy, from Libby Montana, and he did meet President Bush.

----Original Message-----Subject: FW: George W....for realThis is awsome and speaks volumes about our President:Below is an interesting story written by Bruce Vincent, a man whoreceiveda Presidential award for his volunteer services to the forestry service.The story is not about the award, but the awesome encounter thatoccurred between a Christian President and another member of the Body ofChrist, Bruce. Hope you enjoy for it speaks well of our President'scharacter and how much he cares...

Stepping into the Oval Office, each of us was introduced to thePresident and Mrs. Bush. We shook hands and participated in small talk.When the President was told that we were from Libby, Montana, I remindedhimthat Marc Racicot is our native son and the President offered his warmthoughts about Governor Racicot.I have to tell you, I was blown away by two things upon entering theoffice.First, the Oval Office sense of 'place' is unreal. The President latershared a story of Russian President Putin entering the room prepared totackle the President in a tough negotiation and upon entering theatheistmuttered his first words to the President and they were "Oh, my God." I concurred. I could feel the history in my bones.Second, the man that inhabits the office engaged me with a firmhandshakeand a look that can only be described as penetrating. Warm, alive,fullyengaged, disarmingly penetrating.I was admittedly concerned about meeting the man. I think all of ushave aninner hope that the most powerful man in our country is worthy of theresponsibility and authority that we bestow upon them through our vote.Iadmit that part of me was afraid that I would be let down by the moment-that the person and the place could not meet the lofty expectations ofmyfantasy world. This says nothing about my esteem for President Bush butjust my practical realization that reality may not match my 'dream.'Once inside the office, President Bush got right down to business and,standing in front of his desk, handed out the awards one at a time whileposing for photos with the winners and Mrs. Bush.With the mission accomplished, the President and Mrs. Bush relaxed andinitiated a lengthy, informal conversation about a number of things withourentire small group. He and the First Lady talked about such things astherug in the office. It is traditionally designed by the First Lady tomake astatement about the President and Mrs. Bush chose a brilliant yellowsunburst pattern to reflect 'hope.' President Bush talked about theabsoluteneed to believe that with hard work and faith in God there is everyreasonto start each day in the Oval Office with hope.He and the First Lady were asked about the impact of the a Presidency ontheir marriage and, with an arm casually wrapped around Laura, he saidthathe thought the place may be hard on weak marriages but that it had theability to make strong marriages even stronger and that he was blessedwitha strong one.When asked what the biggest challenge of the Presidency was, he talkedaboutthe daily frustration of partisan politics. 'This from a politician,'hesaid. He said that when he was elected he promised that he would do inDCwhat he had done in Texas and that was build alliances and coalitionsthatbridged party lines in order to move the nation forward. He had quicklylearned that there are those in the nation's capital that would ratherseethe nation dismantled than work together to achieve a common good.That, hesaid is a bitter and continuing disappointment.The President talked about the artwork and other items of interest intheroom. For instance the desk he uses is the one that was given to theU.S.by Queen Victoria and used by FDR and JFK. In fact FDR had a frontpaneladded to the desk to cover the mid section because FDR did not want thecountry to know he was in a wheelchair. President Bush laughed andsaid,"My how things have changed, FDR hid a wheelchair and if I eat a pretzelandget a tingle in my arm it's front page news around the globe." Thatlittledesk faux front is hinged by the way, and is the door that we all haveseenJohn John sticking his head from behind in the famous photo of JFK atwork.The President also noted that much of the artwork in the office is fromTexas or about Texas. He said that it made sense for him to have it inhisoffice because Texas is part of who he is. He talked about family andplaceand faith helping to build the person you end up being and noted thattheOval Office reflected who he is. He noted that it would be a mistake tocome to the Oval Office and entertain a mission to 'find yourself.' Hesaidthat with all of the pressures and responsibilities that go with thejob,you'd best know who you are when you put your name plate on the desk intheOval Office. He said he knows who he is and now America has had fouryearsto learn about who he is. If they like what they see, he may haveanotherfour years. If not, then he may be going back to Texas.After about 30 or 35 minutes, it was time to go. By then we were allrelaxed and I felt as if I had just had an excellent visit with afriend.The President and First Lady made one more pass down the line ofawardees,shaking hands and offering congratulations. When the President shook myhand I said "thank you Mr. President and God bless you and your family."Hewas already in motion to the next person in line, but he stoppedabruptly,turned fully back to me, gave me a piercing look, renewed the vigor ofhishandshake and said, "Thank you - and God bless you and yours as well."On our way out of the office we were to leave by the glass doors on thewestside of the office. I was the last person in the exit line. As I shookhishand one final time, President Bush said "I'll be sure to tell Marchelloand give him your regards." I then did something that surprised even me.Isaid to him, "Mr. President, I know you are a busy man and your time isprecious. I also know you to be a man of strong faith and have a favortoask you." As he shook my hand he looked me in the eye and said, "Justnameit."I told him that my step-Mom was at that moment in a hospital inKalispell,Montana, having a tumor removed from her skull and it would mean a greatdeal to me if he would consider adding her to his prayers that day. Hegrabbed me by the arm and took me back toward his desk as he said, "Sothat's it. I could tell that something is weighing heavy on your hearttoday. I could see it in your eyes. This explains it." From the topdrawerof his desk he retrieved a pen and a note card with his seal on it andasked, "How do you spell her name?" He then jotted a note to her whilediscussing the importance of family and the strength of prayer.When he handed me the card, he asked about the surgery and theprognosis. Itold him we were hoping that it is not a recurrence of an earlier cancerandthat if it is they can get it all with this surgery.He said, "If it's okay with you, we'll take care of the prayer rightnow.Would you pray with me?" I told him yes and he turned to the staff thatremained in the office and hand motioned the folks to step back orleave.He said, "Bruce and I would like some private time for a prayer." Astheyleft he turned back to me and took my hands in his. I was prepared todo atraditional prayer stance - standing with each other with heads bowed.Instead, he reached for my head with his right hand and pulling gentlyforward, he placed my head on his shoulder. With his left arm on my midback, he pulled me to him in a prayerful embrace. He started to praysoftly. I started to cry. He continued his prayer for Loretta and forGod's perfect will to be done. I cried some more. My body shook a bitas Icried and he just held tighter. He closed by asking God's blessing onLoretta and the family during the coming months.I stepped away from our embrace, wiped my eyes, swiped at the tears I'dlefton his shoulder, and looked into the eyes of our President. I thankedhimas best I could and told him that me and my family would continueprayingfor he and his.As I write this account down and reflect upon what it means, I have totellyou that all I really know is that his simple act left me humbled - andbelieving. I so hoped that the man I thought him to be was the man thatheis. I know that our nation needs a man such as this in the Oval Office.George W. Bush is the real deal.I've read internet stories about the President praying with troops inhospitals and other such uplifting accounts. Each time I read them Ihopethem to be true and not an internet perpetuated myth. This one, I knowtobe true. I was there. He is real. He has a pile of incredible stuffonhis plate each day - and yet he is tuned in so well to the here and nowthathe 'sensed' something heavy on my heart. He took time out of his lifetocare, to share, and to seek God's blessing for my family in a simple mantoman, father to father, son to son, husband to husband, Christian toChristian prayerful embrace.He's not what I had hoped he would be. He is, in fact, so very, verymuchmore"See a great army marching from the north! A great nation is risingagainstyou from far-off lands. They are fully armed for slaughter. They arecrueland show no mercy. As they ride forward, the noise of their army is likearoaring sea. They are marching in battle formation to destroy you..."Jeremiah 6:22-23

In His Love,


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