He said more: "What happened during the course of dealing with cancer is that it was one of the times when I had to get closer to God." Tony was transformed into a serious Christian, not only reading the Bible and devotional books, but also applying the example of Jesus in his relationship with others. This showed most in the way political opposites treated him. They came to love and admire him. I can't recall another White House press secretary leaving with applause from reporters and administration staff literally ringing in his ears.
Tony had great perspective and sound priorities. You can tell a lot about the character of a man who brags on his wife without being prompted. He loved Jill and their three children and expressed that love to me with the enthusiasm of a newlywed. "When I was sitting in my hospital room," he said that January evening, "I didn't think about what was going on in politics, or even what was going on at Fox (where he once worked). I thought about when I could see my kids and didn't want them to experience what I did when I watched my mother slowly die."
Unfortunately, he could not save them from that pain. But he wasn't afraid to die: "When you die, you graduate. I don't worry about death. Sickness teaches there is joy in everything. Take joy in your sickness because a lot of times God is telling you: ŒYou may not know it, but you're more blessed than you realized.'"
And so are all of us who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Tony Snow (and Mike DeBakey), who have graduated summa cum laude into the presence of the God they served and loved.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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