Scary update before storytime: My time has run out, the manager who gave me an extension last month wasn’t in today but will be tomorrow. So my hope is that she’ll push things back again. I need to get my rent funded ASAP, though. I don’t want to delay any longer than needed. If I can walk in there tomorrow with the money orders, it might be okay. So spread the word, however you feel comfortable. Thanks!
Today VP Joe Biden was surprised with the last Medal of Honor from Obama. While he was never my senator, he was my Vice President for 8 years. A few years back, he was here in Portland stumping for Jeff Merkley. You already know the ending by the picture, but here’s what happened before that was taken.
In his speech, he talked about the things he’s fought for during his career as a politician. As well as the pain he’s faced losing children and others close to him. He has fought for women’s rights, fair education, and many other things. He’s a practicing Catholic and from everything I’ve seen of him, he is the epitome of a good Christian man. Heart, grace, compassion. Things you don’t see too often in career politicians. He has a sense of peace that emanates from within. His sense of humor has helped bring an air of joy to the past eight years.
After the politicking was over, I managed to sneak up to the crowd for handshakes. I was standing next to another woman who shared my first name. When Merkley and Biden came back around for a second run through the crowd, he talked to the other one and then came to me. I tried to get everything out as quickly as possible.
“Thank you for coming here today. My name is Amanda and I am three of the categories of people you’ve fought for: a low income worker, a college student, and a domestic abuse survivor.”
He reached over the barricade and hugged me, kissed my forehead, and told me I was a strong, wonderful human being (I never get the words exactly right, but this is close). I asked for a picture but my phone was dead, so the other Amanda handed her phone to the Secret Service agent handling photos. As you can tell by my goofy face, I was hamming it up, but he was purely graceful. I gave the other Amanda my number so she could send me the picture.
It’s hard to put into words how it felt being in his presence. He has this warmth and energy that is … that made me feel at peace in a crowd. This is something hard to do with my social anxiety. I don’t do crowds well. But in that brief moment, I felt I was in this secure bubble of compassion and peace. That is the energy I felt from him. I felt “not invisible” for the first time in a long time. In a way, I felt loved. Something else I’ve never truly felt in such a way.
He more than earned that medal today. Through personal tragedy and dedication to his constituents, Joe Biden held fast to his faith, his grace, his humanity. Love, compassion, grace, warmth. Acceptance of all, unconditional love and peace. That is my VP. That is Joe Biden.
I’m going to miss him. And Obama. Grace under pressure.