ATLANTA -- Jimmy Carter has a kind and unrelenting spirit. He has no fear of standing up for right.
His newest adventure was announced Thursday when he revealed that he has life-threatening brain cancer.
"At first I just thought I had I a few weeks left, but I was surprisingly at ease," Carter said at a press conference. "I've had a wonderful life. I've got thousands of friends and I've had an exciting, adventurous existence."
He was remarkably calm explaining the propects of staring death in the face, something we will all do sooner or later.
Carter is at ease with most everything he does or says.
At age 90, he is equally comfortable teaching Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. or facing down Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega when Carter monitored the country's election in 1989.
Since 1989, Carter's and his observation teams have monitored 100 elections in 38 countries. Carter and his colleagues help ensure that human rights and democratic values are respected and inspires confidence in the voting process.
He may be the bad joke among rulers of emerging nations that don't have democratic governments. You know it's a bad day, one of them might say, when Jimmy Carter shows up to monitor your country's elections.
Carter doesn't work alone either. In 1994 Carter and Gen. Colin Powell convinced Haiti's dictator Raoul Cedras to flee the country to allow democratic so Jean-Bertrand Aristide could returned to govern Haiti.
He's waged peace hundreds of times in dozens of foreign countries since he left the presidency after the 1980 campaign.
Historians can recount his adventures, but I doubt if any of them can count the number of times he's taught Sunday School. Somehow I believe he enjoys teaching Sunday School the most.
As a teacher he speaks with the ease and familiarity of man who knows the Lord. I've heard it in his voice as he tught Sunday school.
On a cycling trip around the south several years ago, Nancy and I realized that the trip home took us through Plains, Ga. A quick check of the church's website revealed the Carters were in town and he would be teaching at 10 a.m.
We arrived at 8:30 a.m. to make sure we got a seat. We joined a long line standing behind a young Secret Service agent armed with a large bomb-sniffing dog. To put everyone at ease, the dog does tricks.
The agent explained that the bomb check goes quicker if visitors take very few things other than cameras and handbags into the church.
"We've never had a theft from our parking lot, the agent quipped as two uniformed Secret Service agents armed with assault machine guns walked by. They checked every car in the lot.
We filed in a little before 10 a.m. As a Sunday school teacher, Carter, former U.S. Commander in Chief, was in command of the class. It's no different than being in charge of his final adventure.