General Douglas MacArthur said, "There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity." I knew that. However, I was sure that I was going to the inauguration of Barack Obama. The picture is of me writing at my computer at my home office. In addition, the reader can't but notice the picture of Obama that I took at a campaign rally in Gary, IN before the election. If you look at the frame above, you will notice an engraved invitation to his inauguration held on January 20, 2009.

photo of Al at his desk

I had contributed to the Obama campaign several times and received an email wanting to know whether I wished to enter a contest to get an all expense paid trip for two to Washington as Obama's guests. My daughter, Michelle, had just told me that she wasn't able to book a hotel room in Washington around the inauguration even though she booked a flight. I told her that I was going to be one of the 10-finalists in Obama's contest, and she could stay with my wife, Ann, and me.

I contributed both money and a statement why I thought I should be considered. In my statement, I told the contest committee that Obama had greatly reduced the affects of racism in America. I grew up as a white in an all white community in Pittsburgh. Obama was born in 1961, the year I graduated from high school. That was not a very pleasant time for blacks and for their liberal white supporters back in those days. I wanted to be there with Michelle and Ann to see racism dying on the vine of America at the inauguration.

I also wanted to experience the inauguration of someone I supported and feel that America needed badly. However, in the spring, I fell off a ladder while staining our deck and hit my head on the patio creating the need for brain surgery. The neurosurgeon told my wife just before he operated that I had a 50/50 chance of living through the procedure. Obviously, if I died, I wouldn't have gone to the inauguration of Obama, which happened to be on my birthday, January 20.

Because of all those factors, I was sure that I would be one of the winners of the contest. Well, I got an invitation to the inauguration, but I didn't win the contest. Hence, I could go, but I had nowhere to stay. Moreover, even if I were to find a place to stay, what I really wanted was an interview with the new president. Even the network newscasters couldn't sit down with Obama and chat for an hour on the inauguration day.

When I was a senior in college, my senior seminar was on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He was a great philosopher, theologian, and paleontologist who once said, "It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist." We all need to do that or we are essentially dead as real human beings. I could have resented my fall. I could have wasted my time wondering why the fall happened to me. I had stained the deck before several times, and I didn't fall far. I could have merely set back, regretted the incident, and pouted. However, that modus operandi would have done nothing positive for me in my life.

Change is important as Obama says. I plan to write to our new president after the first one hundred days have past and tell him that I would like to interview him. We have a lot in common. We are from the same area of the country, I graduated from high school the year he was born, I made it through a life and death surgery to see him inaugurated, we are both left-handed, he is the very best thing that has happened to America in my lifetime, and he officially began the great revival on my birthday and his inauguration.

I spend a great deal of time in my office. You can only imagine the benefit I gain from seeing the close-up picture of Obama. Each of us has had many setbacks in our lives. Each of us needs to seize the moment and change those setbacks into new opportunities. John Kennedy said, "The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crises'. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger-but recognize the opportunity."

We need to recognize that reality in their lives. Obama does, and it will make America great again. He surely sees that problems create the possibility of creativity and greatness.

Barack Obama

During the election campaign, Obama said these words of wisdom, "Because nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened unless somebody, somewhere stood up when it was hard; stood up when they were told-no you can't, and said yes we can." If you aren't used to standing up and saying yes we can, this is the opportunity for you to change.

It doesn't matter what the issue might be in your life. Instead of allowing it to submerge you in the sea of desperation, make it keep you afloat. You might not feel up to it, but it is up to you. The greater the problem, the greater is the opportunity for security. Real security isn't found in the peaceful times of life. Real security comes to each of us when we mount an offense to the troubled waters in which we find ourselves. Greater the danger, greater is the opportunity for success and real security.

Let us all shout and believe, "Yes, we can!"

Forrest Gump Film Poster

Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."

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