Of Pups and Leaders

In just about two hours, or a shade less, we’ll be landing back in Virginia and about two hours after that…after deplaning, collecting bags, and the Uber ride home to Haymarket, there will be a very noisy, very joyful reunion.

Max, Gracie, Lo Khyi and Gyptse will be waiting patiently, as they have for the past 31 days, for our return. They don’t measure the passage of time as we do. They don’t count minutes or seconds. And they don’t sit in judgement fretting about our absence. They just wait for the pack to be complete again. Their love and their loyalty is unconditional. Our job is to be worthy of it.

When we get there, the wagging tails, and wet licks, and leaps and yips of excitement will be matched by hugs and pats and scratches behind the ears. There will be room on the bed for furry friends who will snuggle in contentedly or Lo Khyi will resume his usual post dropping down with a thump and a sigh alongside the bed, watchful for any threat. There will be walks in the morning and there will be balls thrown. And we will reaffirm that the bonds we share remain deep and unbroken. Our time away will seem like nothing. Our time together is everything.

For me, being worthy of the love and companionship and trust of those pups truly matters. And that was the same was I viewed my leadership role when heading an office at State or leading an Embassy. I wanted to prove myself worthy of those I had the privilege to lead and who put their trust in us and follow our direction while counting on us to act with wisdom and integrity and fairness

I know that in our nation’s life, leadership is not about balls thrown or walks taken. And I know that it is more complicated than leading an Embassy or an office But I still believe that the essence of leadership is the same. We should be able to know that those we trust to lead us will take the responsibility seriously, will demonstrate concern for all our citizens, and that they will act, as best they can, with wisdom and fairness. We should feel confident that integrity, honesty and compassion will guide their judgment. And their actions should demonstrate that they know what it means to love our nation and what it stands for as we build a future of which we can all be proud.

That is my hope for the future. But tonight all I know is that I have four dogs waiting for me. I can’t wait to get home.

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