Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reflections born from losses

I had something happen this week which I hope will not happen again soon.  I lost two friends to cancer.  They had some similarities.  One was a politician, one a priest.   But both were associated with Catholic universities.  The politician graduated from USD - and was a loyal alum and the priest had been president of Santa Clara.  Both were driven by values.  That is not surprising for a priest but not common in politicians.  Both were in their early seventies.  The priest had discovered his illness this spring.  The politician had battled the disease for more than a decade.

The politician had some deep seated faith but not the kind that most politicians shine up every other year - he actually had some values and tried to live by them and tried to get them enacted.  I get tired of politicians who use values as a campaign theme.  But this one actually thought about what might be the right thing to do.   We had talked a lot in recent years about the Episcopal church, he was a member of my parish until I moved to another; but he was disturbed by the politically correct people who seem to be running the Episcopal hierarchy.

There were some differences however.   I read a couple of the tributes to the priest and they seemed to capture him quite well.  But many of the comments about the politician were the kind of banal comments written by a junior staffer because the politician making the statement thought it was the "right" thing to do.  My friend the politician would not have liked most of the soundbites.   Even in his last days he lived his beliefs.  He decided to move back home from the hospital.   He also transferred some of his remaining campaign funds to what should be his eventual successor and to a candidate in a tight race and to one other cause.

I am a better person for having known both.

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