To shake the soul and let the glory out
In the exciting final laps of the US presidential election in November, I think of an almost-forgotten figure (on the political stage anyway). These days Al Gore is more remembered for his tireless crusade for global environmental issues. But there was a time when he was nearly President of the United States. And although he’s not the most eloquent politician, I like 2 of his quotes which I stumbled upon recently. The first was taken from his concession speech after a bitter and narrow presidential election in 2000 (Remember Florida and dangling chads? =) Fighting back disappointment and conceding the presidency to George W. Bush, he said: “No matter how hard the loss, defeat might serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.” I thought that they are such beautiful words in defeat, especially when there was so much lingering doubt over the outcome of the election.
The 2nd quote I came across when I was watching an episode of The West Wing. In that episode, President Bartlet is just recovering from a MS relapse and as he is struggling to stand on his feet, he mouths this quote: “How body from spirit does slowly unwind until we are pure spirit at the end.” Imagine my surprise when I ran a check on this quote and discovered that this was taken from a quote by Al Gore at his father’s memorial service. Body and spirit unwinding, and what we remain of us is pure spirit. Beautiful and truthful words. Reminds me of what a pastor once said, which is that only 3 things last forever: God, the Word of God and the souls of men.