Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jimmy Carter's Witness

I am not the only one sad about Jimmy Carter's cancer diagnosis.  And I am not the only one who is admiring the way he is handling it.

However, I am not surprised by his reaction.  The man has always exemplified grace under pressure.  And his Christian ideals have always undergirded his actions.  So I'm not surprised that his faith supports him now.

I loved his line from his press conference that he hopes the last guinea worm dies before he does.  If that happens, Carter and his Carter center can take full credit for that.  It's an easy pest to eradicate, but because it was so easy, and the possibility for profit so minimal, no one had done it.  But he's close--there are only 126 cases left in the world.  When he started his campaign, there were 3.5 million cases (from this NPR news story).

I'm glad that Carter has talked about his long, full, good life.  I'm glad that he's talked about his lack of fear and being ready for the next step in his adventure, while avoiding some of the stranger platitudes about Heaven.

He's been an amazing former president--an amazing human in general.  Some of his opportunities to be amazing have come from his standing as a former president, but many of us could have lived similar lives.  I love the stories of people who have gone to Plains, Georgia on Sundays when he's in town.  He teaches a Sunday School class where all are welcome; go here to see the schedule.  People who stay for Sunday School and church can stay to meet the Carters.  He's reported to stay as long as people are there who want to meet him.

I love that he's continued his Sunday School teaching even as he's been doing other amazing activities, like helping rebuild in the face of humanitarian disasters.  He's scheduled to go to Nepal soon, for example--even after his cancer diagnosis.

I hope he continues to have a vibrant life, but I am aware that he's in his 90's.  He won't live forever.  But I'm glad for his life of witness.  How I wish more of us could live this way!

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