President Gerald Ford died the day after Christmas in 2006. I was home with viral laryngitis the week of his funeral services. I had been told to rest, not talk and stay away from other people because I was contagious — and so I watched all of it.
A verse from the Psalms I'd heard often as a child was read by President Ford's priest: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.“ Psalm 19:14.
I listened to the eulogies. Regardless of their politics and how they might have rated him as president, the words used over and over to describe him was that he was forgiving, inclusive and someone who reached out in friendship, not only to people like himself, but to others who were not.
I wrote, “I remember being struck by the awareness of how divisive we as human beings have become. Before we are white or people of color, homosexual or heterosexual, young or old, Democrat or Republican, Episcopalian, Southern Baptist, evangelical, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, we are first of all members of the human race.”
Now seven years later, I think again of that time and the divisiveness seems to be growing bigger — and uglier.