The Man Himself

A friend of mine wrote something recently that reminded me of this experience, so I figured I’d take the time to write it out.

The following is true; just ask my grandma.

Back in February my mom, grandma and sister came down to College Station for a weekend visit. Being the good son/grandson/brother that I am, I took them around our fine town to see the sites. Eventually we made it out to the George Bush Library to walk around the pond and enjoy the sunshine. As we were getting ready to leave, we just so happened to see the man himself making his way toward us. George Herbert Walker Bush, President #41, with his wife Barbara and their small dog.

As he walked down the path toward us, we pretty much froze in our tracks. I mean sure, we were at his library and all, but I’ve been there plenty of times without seeing anyone of note. He came right up to me and shook my hand and asked my name; I introduced him to my family. They had just come from the Texas A&M vs. Nebraska basketball game only blocks away, and they were there to let their dog get some relief in the grassy lawn before they headed back to Houston. After several minutes, some other people in the area caught on to what was happening and a small crowd began to accumulate, so we thanked them for their time and moved on.

As we were leaving we passed a Korean couple walking down toward the pond. Korean, I remember, because the girl had part of the Korean flag on her shirt. I wondered if they would recognize 41 when they got to the end of the path, but the thought stopped there.

And as we drove away, it occurred to me that I have played this part before with a different cast. You see, I had the opportunity to shake George H.W. Bush’s hand and look him in the eye and hold his attention, and I made the most of it. How could I not? After all, he was the President of the United States when the Berlin Wall fell. The cold war ended on his watch. I know that I have never shaken the hand of a more influential man. But when I passed within feet of that Korean couple who may have known, but probably did not know who he was, I didn’t say a word. Didn’t want to bother them (by making sure they knew the rare opportunity before them). It was easier to just smile and walk.

I do this with Jesus, too. Sometimes even while I’m at his house. I walk away (sometimes wondering, sometimes not) without intruding on someone’s life to tell them who’s house they’re in and why he built it. I don’t want to bother them with something trivial like the “King of Kings” or the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” They might be put off if I try to make sure they understand that through Christ they, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

They might know him already anyway, right?

How many opportunities will we miss?

George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush