Forwarded by JerryDJ

It was the 8 am service at my church, St. Johns at Lafayette Square, across from the White House. I wanted to go early because I was going with Alice and Brent for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Manassas.

Much of the service was uneventful — nice, but uneventful — until it comes to the part of the service when the priest says, “Greet one another in the name of the Lord.” I turn to my right to exchange the peace with my friend, Amy Fox Smythe, who was on the other end of my pew. I then shake hands with the person in front of me, and turn around to say hello to the person behind me.

The person behind me was our 43rd President George W. Bush. I am not kidding. A small crowd was forming around him, and not wanting to delay the church service or bother him by waiting to shake his hand, I turned back around and sat down and talked to Amy. About 30 seconds later I felt a hand on my left shoulder and turn around to see President Bush with his hand extended. “Peace of the Lord,” he said and held my hand with both of his. “Peace of the Lord,” I replied, and held both his hands and smiled at him. I turned back around and was remarkably calm about the fact that the most powerful person in the world was sitting two feet behind me.

I could hear him flipping through his bulletin as the priest made the announcements. I loved the idea of him thinking, “Oh, there's a covered dish next Sunday.” We perched and when I stood up to go to the communion rail, he got up and walked down the aisle behind me. We passed a little old lady who said, “Mr. President, I pray for you every day.” To which he said, “That's a very special gift. Thank you so much.” We got to the communion rail and there were two spaces, one in front of us and one around the side of the altar. We both surmised for ten seconds and then I started off around the corner. He stopped me and whispered, “No, no. I'll go around” and motioned for me to take the closer spot.

The only exception made in the entire service was that the President was allowed to leave first and then the rest of the congregation followed.

With all sincerity, and partisanship aside I tell you: This is a special man! There is a peace and Godliness about him. It radiates from him. It is the only reason that I was able to remain calm. It was more than the adrenaline I've felt when I've met other famous people. A goodness flows through this man. He has more than my vote in November. He has my respect, my prayers, and my gratitude.

Whatever your political affiliation, and whether or not you agree with his decisions, you should take comfort in the fact that — despite recent press attacks — this is a man of integrity who makes decisions because he believes they are right, not popular. He makes these decisions with a heavy heart and through prayer.

I don't mean to go on, and on, but I truly believe this was a blessing from God that should be passed on.

Laura Lefler
Office of Senator Lamar Alexander
302 Hart Senate Office Building