A very favorite passage of mine, from An American Life, Ronald Reagan=s autobiography, pp.181-182. Here he recalls a day someone made a difference in his life in the middle of the student unrest of 1969:
AThese were stormy times, but I=ll never forget one very quiet moment during that period. One day, I arrived at the University of California campus in San Diego for a meeting of the Board of Regents and there was a huge crowd of demonstrators waiting outside.
The security people told me to remain in the car so that they could drive around to a rear entrance of the building away from the demonstrators. Well, I didn=t want to do that. I told them I=d walk through the front door of the university administration building as I was supposed to.
It was a long walk, about 150 yards, to the building. On one side was a knoll and on the other side a smaller rise; both areas were packed with demonstrators all the way from the street to the front door of the building, and I had to take that long walk between them by myself.
The protesters had decided to hold a silent demonstration, with not a sound, and everyone just standing and glaring at me as I made the walk; the silence had an effect and pretty soon it began to seem like a very long walk and I was feeling a little uncomfortable. I had almost reached the building when one girl left the crowd and started descending from the knoll, headed right for me, and I thought, Lord, what have they got planned now? As I approached her, she was waiting for me and she held out her hand and I took it. Then her voice broke the stark silence and said: AI just want to tell you, I like everything you=re doing as governor.@
I=ll never forget the sound of her voice rising out of the silent crowd. I was going on into the building, she was going to be left outside with her peers in a crowd with whom she had had the courage to disagree.
In subsequent years, sometimes when I had a decision to make and the easy way out was to go along with the crowd, I have thought about this young woman=s demonstration of courage. And I have always felt terrible that afterward I didn=t try to learn her name so that I could tell her how much it had meant to me that day.@
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."