Monday, January 21, 2008

Michelle Obama - A Woman of Substance

Most evenings I sit down on the couch after a long day and curl myself around my husband to relax. When I close my eyes, often times a smile bubbles up from some where deep inside of me. I don't think he notices when it happens. That's when I think to myself, "Wow, how did I get here?"

Yesterday, while talking to a friend on the phone, I had a revelation. I was telling Joe about the exciting few weeks I'd had working with Barack Obama's campaign and the progress with the publication of my book . I told him about all the volunteering, the rallies, the caucus, meeting Michelle Obama, and how grateful and in awe I was that these opportunities had come into my way. His answer, "Lisa, since I've known you I can see how you've grown. You are truly the captain of your ship."

That's when it hit me. That's the difference in the "me" now and the "me" I was in my thirties. I am steering the ship and I'm very pleased with where it is going. After meeting Michelle Obama, I wondered if she felt the same way. Does she sometimes close her eyes in amazement to how she and Barack arrived at this pivotal place in their lives, poised to make history? I wonder if she has always known that she was at the helm of her ship? Has she always directed her own course? I wish I'd asked her those things when we talked.

I get the feeling she's always had a steady eye on the future. And from listening to her speak, I think she's been open to where life took her, not plodding a projected course but choosing the path as opportunities presented themselves.

She said one thing that will stay with me always. I'm paraphrasing here so bear with me. She said to never let anyone tell me that I am not ready - it's not my turn - I can't do it - someone else is more capable. Because in her experience, every time she stepped up and took her place at the table she found that she was just as prepared and just as humbled as everyone one else who'd made it that far. "Is this is? Is this what all the fuss was about? Okay, I can handle this," she said.

I met her on her 44th birthday. We are very close in age and as I listened to her describe her childhood, her schooling and career, her husband's decade in public office, I couldn't help but think, "Wow, if I'd been willing to "take my seat" all along look where I could be?" Even though I'm very happy with my accomplishments, I just feel a little behind the power curve. What an inspiration she is, at least to me, and I believe to most anyone who has the opportunity to meet her. She is articulate, intelligent, well-read, and accomplished in her own right. But what got to me was her empathy and concern for people that clearly shines through when she speaks.

She is mother, first and foremost, concerned about the world we are leaving to our children. Our children live in a country governed by fear. It's the driving force behind most all the decisions our government makes. That's not what I want for my children. She shares my vision of a different future where our children are again filled with possibility and dreaming about becoming astronauts and playwrights, not doing the duck and cover, hiding, and waiting for an elusive, undefinable enemy to strike. Fear is paralysing. Hope is propelling. Watch people around you and see if you don't agree.

She also gave a bit of advice on choosing a husband that I think every girl should hear. I think she said it was her father who passed on this advice, but again, don't quote me. She said, "A man's character is not determined by what he does when people are watching. It's determined by what he does when he thinks no one is watching. And that's why I married Barack. I saw the honorable way he behaved when no one was watching and the things he did for people that were to lift them up, not for his own glory and gain."

Girls, there's a lesson. That is the way to pick a husband. Listen to Michelle. She said that when she accepted Barack's marriage proposal he didn't promise her they would have an easy life but that it would be interesting. "And he's delivered on that!" She laughed.

Talking to Michelle one on one is like talking to an old friend that you haven't seen for a while. You know that feeling - even after years apart the two of you can pick up the conversation where you left off and it's like you were never apart. That's the feeling I got from Michelle. If her husband makes it to the White House, she will be a First Lady we can be proud of. Either way, I am proud to have met her.


Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Lisa,
Michelle Obama sounds like an amazing woman. Both she and her husband are both lucky to have a talented and dedicated woman such as you campaigning for him. -Mike.

Roland Hulme said...

It's a pity we (the CNN watching public) don't get to find out more about her. She seems a very interesting and inspirational woman.

Lisa McGlaun said...


She was amazing. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with her. I hope everyone takes the opportunities given to meet the presidential candidates and their spouses. There is no better way to get a feeling for a person than face to face.


Lisa McGlaun said...


I agree. I found out alot about her by searching for clips on youtube. That will give you a feel for her personality.

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you're reading my blog..:)

Best Wishes,