The Lord must need some good company in Heaven. Recently, Tim Russert,
Jesse Helms and now Tony Snow have been called home. My pastor says that
the older he becomes the more dead people he knows. Those who leave this
earth as believers end up in a far better place without diseases, pain,
grief and broken relationships. Tony battled cancer for a long time, but
he was such an optimist, such a fighter, so courageous, so hopeful, that
his death is a shock.
The one thing which characterized these three men was their love of
family. I have not met Tony's wife and three children, but to know him
for a brief time made me feel as if I knew his family as well. He
placed them on a very high pedestal and one could not know him without
hearing about his family. The same is true of Russert with his wife and
son and of Jesse Helms with his wonderful wife, Dot, and his
Tony frequently had a smile upon his face. He always thought of others.
The first sign of a person's good relationship with the Almighty is the
virtue of gratitude. Tony understood that only in America could he come
from relatively modest beginnings and become a widely read newspaper
columnist, a syndicated radio talk show host, a nationally televised
news anchor and Press Secretary to the President of the United States of
America. Daily he expressed gratitude for the opportunities he had to
use his God-given talent. He could not understand constant complaints
about this country. He was so grateful to live here. He always said this
was the greatest country on earth.
Recently, I was at a funeral at which the wife of the deceased was
inconsolable. When she finally brought her emotions under control, she
told me, "I'm not crying for him. I am sure he is okay. I'm crying for
me. I'm stuck here without him." I was trying to figure out why I felt
so poorly when I learned about Tony's untimely death early last
Saturday. Then it dawned on me that I was not upset for him, even though
I know he wanted to live to see his grandchildren. I was upset for
myself. This world is a poorer place because Tony is no longer with us.
At age 53, no less. I happened to be at the Phillips Publishing Company
when it was announced that his cancer had returned and he would have to
go back to the hospital immediately. Everywhere I turned people were
crying. He was that loved. Even the media believed, I think correctly,
that he never tried to mislead them. Moreover, while always amiable, he
vigorously defended the President's policies. He was a perfect blend of
toughness and fun, of feistiness and understanding.