We have a multi-million dollar project at work that is relying on state and federal grants to be completed, but is being held up by another division of federal bureaucracy. The term limit on the grants will expire before the project is completed if the specific agency holding up the progress doesn’t get everything in order and file the appropriate paperwork, which has already put us behind in the schedule and definitely over budget. Yes, I work for the government. In South Carolina.
We live in a rural county with a higher than average unemployment rate. Not much happens here. We don’t get a lot of attention on the state government level. We’re the ones that usually have to kick and scream to get state officials to notice, and we don’t normally have all that much to kick and scream about. So, it was unusual when the Governor’s office called us and said he wanted to come meet us and talk about the project.
And that he did. The black sedan pulled up and parked. He and a driver got out. The two of them and my boss and I went into a construction trailer where all the woes of our project were laid out. Governor Mark Sanford seemed genuinely interested in our project and problem. He was interested in being educated about it. He asked more than once how he could help. A little over an hour later, the two of them got back in the black sedan and drove away.
Before they were even out of the drive, my boss said, “There’s one lonely man.”
I imagine Gov. Sanford has lost a lot of “friends” because of his recent behavior. He’s still getting grief over it.
We joked a little about the Gov. having to come slumming to the rural counties where nothing ever happens in order to find someone who will really needs him, or at least needs the power of his office and authority.
Our project is further along the process now and even potential future needs are on the Governor's radar. So the truth is, we do need him and the power of his office.
I’m not here to defend or defeat any of Gov. Sanford’s actions regarding his family or mistress or travel arrangements or money. All I know is that he messed up, he knows he messed up, he admitted his shortcomings, and now he’s trying to make the best of a bad situation.
We’re not all public figures or celebrities that make the news, but we’ve all messed up. We’ve all done things where the consequences knocked us down a notch or two from our comfortable perches. We’ve been taken down to a level lower than we’ve ever been before. It’s ugly and dirty. It hurts. It’s embarrassing.
But when you’re down like that, look around. There are people already down there who need you; people who can’t even see your ugly because they’re squinting so hard from their own pain; people whose need is greater than the shame of your fall. When you’re down, serve. That’s when you’ll see lives redeemed. Even your own.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103-2-5