On the day before the Super Bowl, I’m guessing the short supply of serious newspaper readers is smaller than usual.
Still, the mention of Michael Gerson in today’s New York Times demands attention, though he can no longer know that anyone cares. He was a good man and perhaps a great one who died in December. Fifty-eight is too young for the departure of a person whose presence on the earth made it a better place.
Funny, I should say that. I didn’t always agree with his politics and didn’t vote for the President for whom he wrote speeches.
But in my book, I don’t have to agree with you to admire you, as I did him. I envied his gift of language, his principled stance on matters of importance, and a heroic battle that found him outlasted by death: a bigger-than-life opponent with an undefeated record.
Gerson fought a chemically-based depression severe enough for hospitalization, serious heart disease, and cancer that killed him. Outnumbered, you might say, but not out of hope, faith, and love.
I don’t have to believe in your faith to praise the way you go beyond the weekly attendance at a house of worship to live it. Gerson lived his own beliefs in deep consideration and helping the unfortunate. President Biden just hailed the 20th anniversary of the “President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief” created by President George W. Bush and Mr. Gerson. In today’s Times, Peter Baker said their effort saved more than 25 million lives.
Since my words pale to Michael Gerson’s, I hope you watch and listen to him in the video above, an invited Sunday sermon given three years ago. He will tell you enough about his troubles, his concern for the disadvantaged, and his belief in something transcendent to regret his early passing.
The Super Bowl can’t do that, though I hope you enjoy it.
A few seconds at halftime won’t be wasted to remember a humble, wounded, and wise man beyond describing with anyone’s words but his own.