A Living Eulogy

Originally posted to Blogspot on:

September 18, 2009:

Last night I had a dream that Jimmy Carter died. There were some scattered moments involved: a date on a pizza box (in my recycling bin), an entry on the International Movie Database (IMDB), and a few other random details. But in my dream, as I looked up the ex-president’s bio, I saw his date of birth, his date of death, and the word “Today” next to it. The message was in a news blurb, one of those internet scraps we find from Reuters or the Associated Press, and not much else was said about it. In the current wave of celebrity deaths this season, it seemed like the Grim Reaper was busy, and in my dream, I was surprised that the announcement was taken so lightly.

When I woke up, I half expected the worse, especially considering the tide of celebrity checkouts these days. But then after reading through all my Facebook messages (my current source of news), I breathed a sigh of relief that crisis was averted, and I could go on my day drinking coffee latte (at 1pm) and revising my novel.

One thing that didn’t avert, however, was my rabbit trail of thoughts—the things that would cross my mind if and when such an event does happen. That’s when I starting thinking about what to say if I were the one invited to speak at his funeral.

First off, I should mention that I didn’t keep up with him during his presidency. I was only a few months old when he took office and really didn’t become aware of the outside world until after Reagan was sworn in. I didn’t know anything of his policies nor his practices and couldn’t form an opinion about his role as a leader during that time. But I’ve heard from a number of people who had awareness back then (like my parents, for example) that he wasn’t successful at achieving his goals, and thus, his presidency suffered.

What I do remember seeing as I grew older was his involvement in foreign relations. Long after his presidency ended, he traveled from nation to nation as an ambassador for human rights. And based on what I knew, both then and now, he was awesome at the job. He helped strengthen the backbones of ailing nations in areas of leadership, nourishment, etc.—those things that he wanted to achieve as our leader. And he did all these things after his title of “Mr. President” ended.

And what I’ve come to realize was that while the highest office in the land became his for a season, it wasn’t the thing that defined him or the thing that fulfilled his calling. At best, it gave him a platform to fulfill his life’s work as a transformer of downtrodden societies. And while he was only mediocre in the eyes of man, I’m betting he’s a rock star in the eyes of God. A diplomat, yes, but more than that. Today, Jimmy Carter is a man who fulfills God’s design. I’m convinced of that. The Oval Office was just a stepping stone.

Clearly, this was just a dream, and in real life, the man is going strong, speaking out where injustice is served. And though I’m a Republican, and will probably remain one for as long as it takes the majority of Democrats to lose the title of “liberal,” I must say that I’m in support of his practices. He isn’t sitting in his presidential library living in silence. He isn’t following his wife’s political ambitions. He’s still trying to fix the world. And he’s fulfilling his calling.

I’d say that Jimmy Carter is an inspiration—living proof that we don’t need the whole world in our hands to find our place in it. And if we all found our calling, I think jealousy would end, and we wouldn’t need to reach out for things that aren’t ours to have.

So, this is food for thought since I didn’t get the pizza I wanted tonight.

On a side note, I also had dreams about watching The Office. I’m happy to report that that dream did come true.