As we seek a light unto our daily path, where is…
God on The Way?
“The way of the Lord is strength to the upright.”
– Proverbs 10:29
Interviewing Carol LeBeau, long-time anchorwoman for Channel 10 news, is more like getting together with an old friend for coffee and a chat. Her warm, friendly manner speaks volumes about her mid-western background, with an absence of pretense that 20-plus years in California hasn’t been able to change. She’s quick to laugh and speaks confidently about everything from her work, her faith, and what it is like to be a very visible believer in the San Diego community.
LeBeau recently covered a medical mission to tsunami victims for KGTV, and returned with great respect for the doctors and nurses that gave so freely of themselves to the “untouchables” of India’s lowest caste class.
“The love and caring of this team of volunteers was overwhelming,” she reported in a series that is certain to be award winning for both her and photojournalist Kyle Majors. “Each one of them a little ‘Mother Teresa.’ They said it was their Christian faith that motivated them, but they didn’t talk much about it. They simply lived it.”
Recalling the experience, LeBeau remembered “there’s a language barrier when you’re in a country like this. There were interpreters to help the doctors and the patients communicate, but even that was limited.”
The real communication came with a look, a touch, and the genuine desire to change lives – physically and spiritually. “I used a line from one of the young pastors on the trip,” she continues, “ when he summed it up by quoting St. Francis if Assisi, ‘Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words.’”
Asked if the same thing might work at home as well as abroad, LeBeau reacts with immediate charm and passion. “Well, heck yeah!” she exclaims with a touch of a laugh at such an obvious question. “How about extending a kind word to the person who’s checking you out at the grocery store, especially if she looks like she’s having a rotten day. ‘Hey, how ya doing? It looks like it’s busy today.’ How hard is that?”
But we don’t always remember to do the simple things, she admits. “I do believe you have to practice that kind of behavior and if you’re the only Bible that someone is going to see in their day, or in their lifetime, for that matter, you hate to blow it, and frankly I think we as believers miss incredible opportunities to show God’s love and why it’s different being a Christian.
“We miss incredible opportunities. Blabbing and quoting scripture when you’re still living like you’re the center of the universe is not helpful to bringing people into the kingdom. I don’t want to sit here sounding like I’ve got it all right because it depends on what day and what hour of the day you get me. You know, if I’m on my best behavior or not, because I’m dealing with the same sin issues as every other believer out there. But I think when the Holy Spirit invades our lives, you get these constant nudges, reminders – Ooo, I did it again – Oh, look, I’m gossiping, I didn’t mean to – I mean that’s what our consciences are at that point.”
LeBeau enjoys the opportunities to speak to church groups that her visibility brings her, and she is quick to point out her desire to make a good impression. “Being in the public eye, you’re already sort of hypersensitive. I certainly wouldn’t want to go away from any encounter with someone having them tell all their friends or neighbors, ‘well, I met that news lady and she’s really obnoxious!’ So I already have that built in, but I hope at some level – it’s just not my personality, to be handing out cards with John 3:16 on them everywhere I go – so I guess the best alternative is to just be kind. You know, we’re just not kind in our culture, and there’s just no excuse for it because it doesn’t take up any more energy.”
Raised in the church, LeBeau had what she describes as a personal encounter with Christ in her mid-20s while working as a reporter in Peoria, Illinois. Invited to a women’s function she was impressed by the way the other women talked about God. “I thought, my gosh, these people talk about God like they know him.” She got involved with a Bible study, “cracked the Bible for the first time,” as she puts it, and after six months to a year of that made the commitment herself and “began that journey as a young Christian.”
Although her Iowa roots remain very close to her, LeBeau is a confirmed Californian when it comes to her passion for ocean swimming. “I couldn’t believe how much fun it was to swim in the ocean, and I still love it more than anything. It is one time when I just thank God for his creation. The physical ability to be out there in it is such a source of joy. I love the peace and quiet of it, because when your head is underwater swimming, you’re not having to relate to anybody, or be distracted – it’s just that rush of water past your ears and just looking at what’s below you that’s so amazing. It’s the time at which I have the most grateful spirit. I’m just like everybody else – good days, bad days – and I’m apt to whine and moan about my life, just like anybody else, but it does seem when I’m out in the ocean just stretching out – stroke after stroke. I get that calm and I realize how much I have to be thankful for. And for me, I think of the others things for which I have to be grateful at that moment, as well. It’s a tremendous source of joy.”
Joy, kind, happy – they all describe Carol LeBeau’s life on and off camera. She has just signed a new contract with her station and she looks forward to continuing to do exactly what viewers around the county expect her to do each weekday. In the process, LeBeau has become something of an icon – no small feat when your business is television news. While new faces come and go, and older faces seemingly hop from channel to channel, LeBeau is the picture of stability at the desk of KGTV Channel 10. Her career could easily define the term anchorwoman.
Ask her, though, and she would call herself an anchored woman.
“God on The Way” is an ongoing series that looks at how the Lord influences the daily lives of busy leaders in our community. Is there someone you would like to hear from? Let us hear from you. Submit your ideas via the Good News Etc. web site at www.goodnewsetc.com, or contact Stu Smith at [email protected] We’ll do what we can include your suggestions in the future.