Ask and ye shall receive, perhaps not at that moment, perhaps later, but you will always receive the intentions of your hearts.
Well, here is a story of such. To cut the extra details, one day the interns had Soda with the Senator. We all were able to ask one question, and then we were to have like a general overall question. Nobody came up with the biggie, so I proposed one we had all talked about. Let’s ask the Senator if he will arrange for us to go up inside the dome of the United States Capitol. Well, we went into the meeting, and I got in a bit of trouble, but I asked it. I was in trouble because we found out the Member of Congress has to do it themselves. This would be a scheduling nightmare for the Senator. Well, we all understood and went our ways.
Well, the time for our internship was winding down. On the Thursday before I was to come home, the Senator asked me to escort him to the floor. We walked along, he gave me a Christmas present, and gave me some advice. The advice came from his personal experience as a husband, and also from his experience as a Bishop. He then with excitement announced that he had arranged that he could take us into the dome of the Capitol. It would be the next day at three PM. Well, obviously I was excited, but it just so happened, that I was leaving the next day. I informed him of this and he said he was most sorry. He had made this happen mostly for me and that he was sorry he waited too long.
Well, let me tell you, the office was excited. The lowly intern, asked an unaskable question, and they were now benefiting. They promised to think of me, they promised to take pictures of the expedition. You will notice that there are some new photos in the ‘Leaving DC’ gallery. That is what those photos are containing. The staff’s pictures of the Senator’s personal tour of the Capitol Dome! Enjoy them. There is a classic of looking down into the Capitol Rotunda. There are pictures that include the Senator. Enjoy.
There is a little more to the story. The next day, I am filling out a marriage application in the Salt Lake City Clerk’s office. My phone rings. On the other end, I hear Gavin Bruce announce he was speaking to me from the top of the United States Capitol Dome overlooking the city. In the background Senator Smith bellows, ‘Wish you were here Paul’. I was so completely jealous. Greg, Gavin, Steve, and others all sent emails afterward thanking me. Apparently the Senator at every high point in the tour commented something like, ‘I think Paul would have enjoyed this’. Oh well. As they were telling it to me in the Clerk’s office, Amanda caught my attention and pointed out a sign that said thank you for not using cell phones. The folks to our side looked like they would appreciate my obedience. I finished our conversation, and again felt left out of the chance of a lifetime!
I want to say here, that I hope someday, somehow, I will again have the chance to ascend to the top of one of our country’s most prized possessions. A place that only 535 people have permission to go, a few caretakers, a few construction workers and cleaners, and those who are personally escorted by one of those people. Someday……..
The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.
If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.
In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.
With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.