Friday, July 20, 2007

Dreams of My Father

I'm listening to the audio -book of Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. It's very interesting and I'm enjoying it on my evening runs. I like him, he has an honest way of stating the truth of both sides but somehow seeming to bring a genuine peacefulness and understanding between various sides. As a man who had a white mother and a black (Kenyan) father, who better to bridge the divides that still remain in our country with regards to racial issues? But it goes way beyond that, he just really seems to have something genuine in his words and he seems to want to bring people together. It's a rare gift I've only seen in a few people. The book was written before he even ran for Senator.

One thing on the 4th CD, he is talking about his work doing community development in Chicago, which he did before he went to law school at Harvard. He was meeting with various church pastors because he worked with them in his community development work and this was before he became a Christian himself, and he says, "They all mentioned periods of religious doubt, the corruption of the world and their own hearts. The striking bottom and the shattering of pride. And then finally the resurrection of self, a self alloyed to something larger. That was the source of their confidence, they insisted. Their personal fall and subsequent redemption. It was what gave them the authority to preach the good news."

All I can say to that is Amen, brother! Something in the way I heard it or he read it - in a very unaffected way, no fervor, just plain spoken - moved me deeply, because it speaks such truth. That is exactly what the Christian faith means to me. It's not about being righteous and especially not self-righteous or judgmental. It's about recognizing one's failings, falling down and then finding the strength - the redemption that comes from surrender - to rise back up, truly healthier and stronger. I've had two such times when I struck bottom in my life - in high school after the date rape when I didn't have God or religion and I turned to alcohol and self-hatred and other sources of inflicting pain on myself, and then my divorce over 4 years ago when I did have God and although I sunk into a deep depression, I never hated myself and I mourned and grieved and overcame, clinging fiercely to God in the morning in my prayers, during the day in my tears, and at night as I went to bed, alone, hoping only that through this pain something beautiful could be born, or reborn. And it was.

No comments: