If I Could Ask You A Question
We always begin our Sage luncheons with introductions around the room and then I pose a question to each member of the group. The question recently was, “If you could meet any figure in history, who would it be and what would you like to ask them?”
The answers were interesting. Here’s a sample.
“Abraham Lincoln–do you have any regrets?”
“Adolf Hitler (my choice)–looking back from the perspective of history, are you remorseful?”
“Condoleezza Rice–how did you become so accomplished in so many pursuits?”
“Laura Bush–how do you remain so unruffled?”
“Barbara Bush–where did you get your sense of humor?”
“Charlemagne–where did you get your ideas for such military genius?”
But my favorite was this one: “Vince Lombardi–what can we do to turn the Cardinals around?”
In my life-time there were three people I wanted to meet. All were heroes to me in one way or another. They were Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul VI.
I have had the good fortune of having several meals with Desmond Tutu, and believe me, he is the real deal. This Nobel Prize winner has an impish sense of humor and does so many things right. On his long flights to Europe from South Africa when he was on speaking tours, he would write personal notes to the children of his clergy in the Anglican Province of South Africa.
I met Pope John Paul VI in the Vatican in the summer of 1994. I was with a group of seminary leaders and we had an “audience” with the pope. We shook hands. He asked me in good English, “What do you do?” I told him I was a Presbyterian pastor in Chicago. He said, “Blessings on your community.”
A picture of our shaking hands is in a prominent place in our living room.
I have never met Nelson Mandela but I sat 25 feet from him at a political rally in South Africa when he was running for state president. What I remember from his political stump speech is the promise of indoor plumbing and electricity in all homes in South Africa.
Of course, there is one hero we all bow before, our Lord and Master. I have so many questions for him I don’t know where to begin, but one of them is: “Why didn’t your heavenly Father make me a better golfer.”