News coverage during the past week about John McCain has given the impression of a nation drawn together more than usual. Importance of that is especially evident during these days of conflict. Turmoil among leadership in my country — and now also in my Christian denomination — forces me to depend on my own judgment even more than before, and therefore less on customary sources.

Fortunately I can draw on massive amounts of guidance and direction from those customary sources in the past. With all their imperfections, past guidelines at least weren’t weighed down by the extreme disarray just cited. It is now fitting the way we focus on a product of those past guidelines: John McCain, whose example of selflessness and sacrifice provides much needed inspiration. How many would have suffered years more as a captive rather than accept a privileged offer to leave — one in a million — or less?

The overwhelming majority of us, not destined for even a slight fraction of his achievements, must settle for a far smaller legacy. Speaking for myself, if success of all my efforts suddenly changed from very limited results to spectacular triumphs, maybe that would advance me to one per cent of one per cent as high. That would be more than satisfying enough. Many of us almost never call someone an inspiration. John McCain was an inspiration.

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