Dear Friends and Family;
Please take a few minutes to read this. Phyllis
Subject: DESTINY IS CHARACTER/JOHN MCCAIN
This is an excerpt from John McCain's Destiny is Character where he shares a
powerful experience that occurred during his 5-1/2 years as a POW during the
Viet Nam Conflict.
There was one other occasion during my imprisonment that moved me greatly as
evidence of God's transcending love. During the time I was held in solitary,
I was caught, not for the first time, communicating with my dear friend in
the cell next to mine. For my transgression, I was kept overnight in a
punishment cell tied very tightly in ropes.
On this particular night as I sat on the stool cursing my bad luck, and
straining against the painfully tightened ropes, the door suddenly opened and a
young gun guard I had occasionally seen wandering around the camp entered the
room. He motioned to me to remain silent by placing his finger to his lips,
and then, without smiling or even looking me in the eyes, proceeded to loosen
the ropes that bound me. His kind action completed, he left without uttering
a word to me. As dawn approached, he returned to tighten the ropes before he
finished his watch and another guard might have discovered what he had done.
In the months that followed, I occasionally saw my Good Samaritan when I was
moved from one part of the prison to another. He never allowed himself a
glance in my direction, much less spoke to me, until one Christmas morning, when
I was briefly allowed out of my cell to stand alone in the outdoors and look
up at the clear, blue sky. As I was looking at the heavens, I became aware
of him as he walked near me and then, for a moment, stood very close to me. He
did not speak or smile or look at me. He just stared at the ground in front
of us, and then, very casually, he used his foot to draw a cross in the dirt.
We both stood looking at his work for a minute until he rubbed it out and
For just that moment I forgot all my hatred for my enemies, and all the
hatred most of them felt for me. I forgot about the Jerk, and the interrogators
who persecuted my friends and me. I forgot about the war, and the terrible
things that war does to you. I was just one Christian venerating the cross with
a fellow Christian on Christmas morning.
I saw him again occasionally. But he never looked at me or attempted to
speak to me. We never worshiped together again. But I have never forgotten him or
the kindness he showed me as a testament to the faith we shared. That
experience helped to form my lasting appreciation for my own religious faith, and
it took the faith of an enemy to reveal it to me, the faith that unites and
never divides, the faith that bridges unbridgeable divisions in humanity, the
faith that we are all, sinners and saints alike, children of God. I became a
better man, a stronger man, a more faithful man, who, for at least a moment,
could love his enemies.
"Time goes by so fast; people go in and out of your life. You must never
miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you."