Every time I think there is nothing uplifting to read from current headlines there comes a story about Jimmy Carter. Such as this one.
For decades I have known the main lesson Carter has allowed us all to learn from is the one that starts the night of his election loss in 1980. There are few who know the mental and emotional anguish which follow such a national event. Carter surely had a long stretch of coming to terms with the loss of the presidency.
But Carter then emerged from his defeat to follow his passions with the Carter Center which allowed him to fight for the issues and pursue his goals on an international stage. In so doing he showed the path to fulfillment and happiness did not take place in corporate board rooms where making money is central to all actions, but rather in human connections where lives are positively changed.
As Carter ages, he has not withdrawn but rather embraces life and uses his more fragile body as a means of demonstrating where his true strength lies. Truly a most impressive man.
Two weeks after fracturing his pelvis in a fall, former president Jimmy Carter was back at church on Sunday, teaching from the book of Job.
Carter, 95, has lived longer than any other former president in U.S. history. He was hospitalized Oct. 21 after falling at his home in Plains, Ga. — his second fall that month and third this year.
But during a sermon at Maranatha Baptist Church on Sunday, from a motorized lift chair before a congregation of 400 people, Carter said he has been “at ease with death” for years, CBS News reported.
Carter has been teaching at church since his teens, according to the Associated Press, and he refused to miss another Sunday school lesson because of his health. The Rev. Tony Lowden said Secret Service agents, friends and fellow churchgoers encouraged the ex-president to refrain from teaching after his pelvic fracture, which came two weeks after the former president fell and required stitches on his forehead.
But Carter came anyway.
“He is pouring out that you might see Christ while he is suffering,” Lowden told the crowded church, according to the AP.
During his lesson, Carter cited his history of health issues as the source of his philosophy on death. In August 2015, he announced he had melanoma — which eventually spread to his brain. Carter said he “assumed, naturally, that I was going to die very quickly.”
“I, obviously, prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I just asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death. And I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death. It didn’t really matter to me whether I died or lived,” Carter said, according to the church’s Facebook Live video of his sermon. “I have, since that time, been absolutely confident that my Christian faith includes complete confidence in life after death.