I was in London when Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, ten years ago. I never stopped admiring her.
At that time, my oldest son, now a British citizen, had an office on the top floor of a six-story building that overlooked St. James Park and the Thames river. We gathered there for snacks and Pims, waiting for the royal regatta to pass while watching the TV footage of the celebration projected on a large screen.
It was a typical British late spring day: chilly, gray, rainy. No day for being outside, although that did not stop the thousands from filling the walkways next to the Thames to catch a glimpse of their beloved Queen Elizabeth II.
I, warm and comfortable, watched amazed as this woman, then 86, stood for hours in chilly, damp weather, not, to my Texas eye, dressed with any particular warmth or protection, and waved endlessly at the crowds.
At that moment, Queen Elizabeth offered to me and to the world a model of grace, toughness, humble awareness of her responsibilities and privileges, faithfulness, and unending integrity.
Would that each of us could honestly display such character qualities! I often wonder what the world would look like if all leaders first had to demonstrate integrity; second, faithfulness to the assigned/elected task; and third, the toughness of character necessary to stick with their calling in life, no matter how difficult, boring, repetitive, or unwelcome some parts of it may be.
In the many weeks and months I’ve spent with my son and his family in England, I was able to see up close the deep love that the British have for their Queen. Many things might divide them, but Queen Elizabeth II had the strength of character to rise above the divisions and squabbles and hold everyone together.
Surely, surely, God’s hand was indeed upon her. More, she chose to stay under that holy hand even when the weight of it might seem unbearable.
What a gift she gave to us. May the peace of God comfort all who mourn for this amazing woman as she now stands in the fullness of love and holy light.