Sunday, September 26, 2010

When Character Was King: Ronald Reagan

We have spent much time in recent weeks on the person of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

I have been listening to an audio book titled, When Character Was King by Peggy Noonan.  It is beautifully written.  Peggy also wrote Patriotic Grace which I have been reading for the past few weeks as well.

section of the Berlin Wall
Reagan was 30 years old when World War 2 began.  30 years old.  Often at 36, I think the purpose of my life is now...and it is, but I have so much ahead of me, Lord willing, and who knows where I may end up or what God will call me to?  Certainly I can look back through my life and see His hand upon it.  Disneyland, Miriam, my marriage, the move to Borrego and the incredible benefit that has been to me as a wife and mom, and now.  Today, I am actively involved in the Salt & Light ministry at my church and my activity with CWA (Concerned Women for America) is intertwined with it, I home school my children and the effects of that are eternal, I love to encourage true worship in movement, and I have enjoyed so much planning the home town parade in Borrego...  Life is now.  But it is not only now.  Reagan was 30 when WW2 hit.  40 years later he would become arguably the greatest President this world has ever known.  He was SAG president and faced communism head-on, he was governor of California, he went through a devastating divorce.  And life goes on.  God isn't done with us until He calls us home.  His family will say that even in his dementia, God used him.
about to enter Reagan's Presidential Library
Precious one, your life is not now as you look around you all it will ever be...whether good or bad.  Yes, life is a vapor, but even vapors twist and turn and evolve in one beautiful wisp after another until one day it vanishes altogether...with just a faint memory of beauty.  "Wherever you are, be all there."  And if I may add, don't dwell on what once was, but look around you for what can be now and dream of what may come.  Be idealistic.  Moses was 80 when he began his ministry.  Reagan was 70 when he became a great President...and I suggest, perhaps, it was his age and experience that made him so great.  We only get better with age.  Relish it.

Reagan didn't run for office because it was what he wanted, he ran because the people wanted him.  Can you honestly say that about our leaders today?  I imagine there must be a small handful that serve sincerely out of duty and the good of the people and not their own personal gain or prestige, but most serve for selfish reasons...power, money and influence.  Reagan only ran when he knew the people wanted him.

model of the White House at the Reagan Library
Nancy.  She was his protector.

A hefty portion of this book is dedicated to the assassination attempt on Reagan.  As it should be, I guess, but I found myself surprised at the time spent on the subject.  Why?  Maybe because it hasn't been amplified by the media in my life or in the history books.  I don't know.  But, it was a very significant event.  He almost died and clearly God's hand of protection was on him.  Today, we saw at the Presidential Library the suit he was wearing and the very minuscule bullet hole in his coat.  I was near tears numerous times as various account and perspectives were narrated about this event.  All of them captivating.

Just helping the old man down the hall.
As I finished this wonderful account of Reagan's life on our long drive to our home school group the other day, I was moved to tears.  The man who coined the phrase "Peace through strength" ended his life in quiet mystery.  It must bless Nancy beyond belief to hear people talk about their memories of her husband.  He was an amazing man.  Yes, mistakes were made.  But, who's perfect?  He was a truly amazing President.  Humble. Real. Kind. Firm.

My precious warrior prince.
The end reflected on the children of one of the men in Reagan's administration.  He took his sons through the White House to show them where his dad used to work.  The boys had toy swords and were acting out the part of warriors.  The author commented on the value of our boys growing up knowing there are things worth fighting for and defending.  I have two little warriors in my own home.  It was a nice confirmation.

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