On Faith and Conviction


My adopted state of Texas has endured triumph and tragedy in the last two weeks.

First, the horrifying fertilizer plant explosion in West, a town of less than 3,000 residents located about 70 miles south of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, killed 15 and injured more than 200.  The blast left a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

Then, last week, in an odd juxtaposition but welcome diversion to the news in West, the George W. Bush Presidential Center opened to great patriotism, pomp and circumstance.

Each event sits as a contrasting bookend on a wide shelf of emotions.  Each event also served as a portal for deep faith and conviction to pour through.

No political statement

Before you groan and close this post, please hear me when I say it’s not about politics!  However, in the context of today’s topic, I do need to let you know that I was not a fan of the Bush administration, or even the man, while he was in office.

Full disclosure:  I did more than my share of Bush-bashing during his term (okay, and after he moved to Dallas).

Those days are done.

Last week, as I watched him step again upon the world’s stage, I saw something I never saw before.  I saw extreme faith and conviction.  And my heart softened.

My perception enlarged and allowed my vision to take in things I had been unable to see.  As one editorial writer stated in last Sunday’s Daily Morning News, “For as much time as we spend understanding presidents’ policies and politics, little effort is spent trying to understand them as people.”

Last week, I saw President Bush as a man with a fervent love for his family and his country.  He also is a man who so respects the office of the presidency that he has chosen to recede from the public limelight.  When asked for an opinion or to state his position about a matter of public record, he refuses, so as not to undermine our current president.

Extraordinary faith and conviction

Two invisible sentinels stood next to the caskets at the public memorial in Waco for the 11 emergency responders to the West explosion.  Call them Faith and Conviction.

All were ordinary people who gave of themselves in an extraordinary way, probably never dreaming that their emergency training would be needed during a catastrophe.  These folks served with the conviction of their souls.

They did what they did because it was the right thing to do.  As President Obama said at the memorial, “We need those who so love their neighbors as themselves that they’re willing to lay down their lives for them.  America needs towns like West.”

The dedication of the presidential library and the solemn dedication ceremony of another sort–occurring only hours apart, are extreme examples of faith and conviction.  They’ve latched on to my psyche.

I am still holding some questions in my mind that I asked myself on that day, one week ago.  I’ll ask them of you now.

Do you believe in what you’re doing, in the decisions you make?

Do you stand firm even if you’re unpopular for doing so?

Do you have an unshakeable faith in your abilities?

Are you living your life with faith and conviction?

Photo courtesy of Anncam

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  1. Galen Pearl says:

    What a great post. I love it when we can set aside our judgments long enough to open our hearts to another human being and find something to admire. Lovely tribute to Bush, regardless of politics!

    • Beth says:

      Thanks, Galen. When I first moved to Texas, I thought, “Great! My politics are going to stick out like a sore thumb. And of course there are radicals, but by and large, my image of a typical Texan has melted into observations of intense pride and huge hearts. I still haven’t bought my first pair of boots, however!

      Happy Sunday evening to you!

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