The recent news about UT Senator Orrin Hatch reminded me of an unforgettable experience in my life. Seven years ago I met the President of the United States, George W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House. It was an unbelievable experience. That moment, I realized that anything can happen if you put your heart and soul into a dream and never give up. It was one of the few times in my early life where I went forward with a goal, without any doubt and believed completely in my ability to make it happen. I had to humble myself, I had to ask for help and just ride on faith. I had no time frame of when I felt it should happen, I just kept believing, no matter how long it would take. At the time I was living in UT and wrote to the Governor, asking him how we could make this happen, me giving this painting I had spent hours creating – to the President. He shortly (within weeks) wrote me back and said he’d pass it on to the Senator. The funny thing is, I told my family this and they just gave me a smile and said “That’s great!”… behind their eyes I could clearly see them saying “Oh, I’m sure he says that to everyone darling…” 😉 haha!
Within a few months I received a call from the White House staff informing me that I had an appointment next week to meet the President! I was FLOORED. I believed I could do this… why couldn’t I? But to actually receive the news that it’s for real – it’s happening, I was tingling from head to toe with adrenaline! That’s when the whole world opened up to me…
I could not have done this without the kindness of Governor Huntsman, and the generosity of Senator Orrin Hatch. What I did not realize is that no civilian is able to be invited to the White House without the personal invitation from a Senator. When I had arrived it was for a semi-annual congressional meeting where 4 civilians are able to spend 7 min with the President in the Oval Office. During my visit there was a triple amputee soldier from Iraq and Country singer Hank William’s, daughter. The fourth person wasn’t able to attend. The White House was much smaller than I imagined and it was a rush to have the White House doors opened for me by two marines. I was early and sat in the White House by myself, admiring the gold trimmed… everything. I wandered just a bit through the very narrow small halls. It was peaceful there and everyone was so kind. I felt like royalty for a short-time. It was… a dream come true. 🙂
Once everyone arrived, we all gathered in the Roosevelt room and conversed for about a half hour. Orrin Hatch is one of the nicest men I have ever met! He immediately gave me a hug when he walked in the room. We talked about art, and his music. He told me the history of the Roosevelt room and how nice the President is and how impressed he has been with President Bush. Senator Orrin Hatch reminded me of the Grandpa that everyone would love to have. Very kind eyes and very enjoyable to be around.
The soldier went first and then it was my turn. Orrin Hatch was planned to escort me into the Oval Office but there was a Senate meeting where he had to go vote in. He apologized and gave me one last hug. I was led through the door and down to the Oval Office. The painting was carried behind me by a White House worker and then the doors opened before me. There, just like in a movie scene the President, George W. Bush stood in the center of the room. He was looking down at a piece of paper and looked up as he heard me enter the room.
“Well, hello Rebecca!” At that moment all butterflies and nerves left my body. I was immediately filled with adrenalin.
“Hello Mr. President! ”
“Oh wow, you got my eyes!!” Said the President. He grabbed hold of the painting and carried it to his desk. “How did you do this?”
“Well Mr. President, if you’re ever in my town you can stop by my classroom and I’ll teach you the process.”
“Oh, you teach? Where at?”
“Yes, I teach at Ogden Blue Art School. This is such a neat experience for me, because not only am I fulfilling a dream of mine, but it’s also such a great example to my students. Because I stress to them how important it is to have dreams and to never give up on them. Now look at where I am!!”
“That is fantastic Rebecca! Well here, let’s give them something to see. Here is a Presidential Pin, you show them this. Now let’s get some pictures for everyone to see!”
We took some pictures, and then he gave me a hug and told me how thankful he was that I was teaching. Walking out of the Oval Office I was grinning from ear to ear. The world was brighter, the air seemed fresher, LIFE seemed endless! I felt that I could do ANYTHING in the world that I wanted. Everyone should have this feeling. 🙂