I hope you all forgive these musings. Sometimes I feel I have something to say but can’t articulate it. When that happens, I sit down and write, trusting to the forgiving nature of my readers and (hopefully) a blind eye from the authorities. And so, with a deep breath:
I’ve just read “A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks.
It was really good. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, reading all these Sparks novels. I got a little misty eyed towards the end. The man’s writing brings to mind something Donald Davidson said about the South (and I paraphrase): southern literature has a thread of the tragic running through it, but beauty emerges. When the south loses its sense of tragedy, it will finally have died all together. For now at least, as Sparks’ novels attest, the South still has a pulse.
Theologians tell us God allows suffering for a morally sufficient reason. It’s hard for humans (as opposed to theologians who pretend to be human) to see what that might be. Sparks’ best novels give us a glimpse into the mystery.
In this one, a rowdy teen falls for the preacher’s daughter, a girl with a heaping of religious naivete covered by dogged generosity. Hauling her Bible around the high school made her an outcast, causing drama between her and her rowdy admirer when the latter is guilted into helping with the school play. He doesn’t want to be seen hanging around the poor girl. I’m sure you all know how it ends, so I wont give it away. I’ll only say, it’s a beautiful story.
It made me think about life, and, again, I blame this on the emerging spring season, but I realize that tragedy intensifies love and also (and here’s the controversial point), hatred. It’s often said among my friends, but it seems all the more true to me now: A man can’t hate properly unless he can love properly.
I first heard of the tragic torture and slaughter of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom about a year after it happened. I was at work when I read a passionate account on the Council of Conservative Citizens website. It disturbed me so much, I left early claiming illness and was on my knees in prayer to God as soon as I entered my apartment. Call it melodramatic if you’d like (I’ve often been accused of it) but I’ve always felt deeply, and the story of that poor couple cut to my heart. I dropped to my knees before God and the Heavenly host, lifted my sacred hunting knife (brought from Germany by my grandfather and given to me before his death), and sliced my arm – swearing vengeance to God and pleading with Him to grant me the honor of avenging the wronged. And not just them, but for the hundreds of torture murders and all the slaughtering of our people.
I’ve since learned to ration my browsing of those websites. I get burnt out too easily. But when the anger subsides, sadness remains, and out of the sadness comes a deep appreciation for God’s plan.
Beauty among the ruins.
Dear God, be with us…