Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Suffering on Inauguration Day

Lately I've been doing a lot of interviews about Kiss, the novel Ted Dekker and I co-authored. Yesterday someone asked why Kiss keeps coming back to the theme of pain and the importance of remembering pain. If you've read any of my numerous online interviews, you'll have "heard" me say repeatedly that we remember pain not to wallow in it, but to commemorate our deliverance from it, whether that be physical, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise.

This morning in my car, I was listening to radio coverage of President Obama's inauguration. The announcer mentioned almost in passing that members of the King family--the children of Martin Luther King, Jr.--were being escorted to their seats. That simple observation, almost inconsequential in the context of everything else being discussed today, brought me to tears.

Maybe it doesn't take much to bring me to tears these days. But here's what I was thinking: The particular suffering that family has experienced is beyond my comprehension. (I'm a privileged white girl whose father is still wonderfully alive.) I wondered what this particular day would mean to them if they did not carry with them all the pain of their history. Would the election of Barack Obama be as sweet? Would they feel as much optimism for our country, or as much hope?

What would this day be like, if we all abandoned the pain of our pasts? I'd be interested to hear you speculate.


Kristina said...

I don't believe that you can abandone your pain. Though I must admit that I have tried hard. But I think sometimes we have to have that pain in order to be the person that God truly wants us to be. A world without pain would teach us nothing.

I believe for MLK and his wonderful family that all the pain that they and so many other black american's suffered is what brought us to the 2009 Inauguration of a multi cultural american President. Though I think it is sad that black american's had to suffer for this day to come.
Though I did not vote for him I am pleased that our country was able to look forward. It sure took our country long enough to grow up and act like human beings.

Joyce said...

It would not have been so sweet. Suffering, pain, remorse, it all makes the good times better. Without pain there is no measure, no rule with which to compare our joy. I watched the inauguration and felt touched and even, perhaps, a sense of healing now. Healing and hope. Without the pain of my past, my novels would have no depth.

SamuelGatlyn said...

I believe that the kind of man Martin Luther King Jr. was, would have granted him pain and pleasure at this day we've entered into. Pleasure, because of the monumental moment of having our first black president in office. But I think his pain would have outweighed his pleasure, and in fact would have been the driving force to lead him onto the field of yet another civil rights battle. A battle over the rights of 50 million unborn; a large part of that number, african americans.
MLKJ would have balked at a president who in the first week of his term has already legislated that death be the continuing sentence for the unborn.
He would grieved at a nation who has been courted by the color of a man's skin instead of the content of his character.
I believe his pain continues.