I actually saw a sitting American president once. In fact I was almost close enough to touch him. But there were big men and black suits I was sure would try to stop me.
It was 1978 and Dennis and I were in Washington, D.C. for just a little vacation. On Sunday morning we attended First Baptist Church of Washington in hopes that President Jimmy Carter would be there. Not only was he there but so was Rosalynn and daughter, Amy. I felt…important to see the President of the United States with my very own eyes. If it had been appropriate, I would have taken a picture of him or even better a picture of him with me to show everybody that I had actually seen this man.
Not long ago, I saw James Taylor walking down the street near Central Park in New York City and later saw Carrie Underwood in Bed, Bath and Beyond in Nashville.
Somehow such sightings, even almost brushing shoulders with these celebrities, made me feel more significant – and it would have made me feel even more so if I had a picture – proof that I had stood near greatness.
Last week I was at a conference where a well-known Christian singer was expected to arrive soon. There was a buzz as a small group anticipated his last-minute arrival to go on stage. I overheard a woman saying, “Oh, if I could just get my picture with (the artist) my friends back home would think I’m really something.”
It occurred to me that perhaps we strive harder for significance than anything else…even more than we crave serenity or affirmation. And if we can’t be significant to the world on our own merits, we’ll try to borrow it from someone more important than ourselves. Stand in someone else’s aura for a minute and we’ll feel like we emit one, too.
But how do we measure significance? That lady waiting for the celebrity could have more impact on the friends back home than the artist could ever have. We’ve gotta remember this. We probably won’t realize our influence – both negatively or positively – until heaven, if even then. Guess what I’m saying is that significance is not relative to money, fame, or whether someone wants to take their picture standing next to us. Influence is immeasurable and sometimes eternal.
P.S. Did you see this picture of me and Micky Dolenz (former “Monkee”)? Just saying.