THIRTY-EIGHT

Sarah lookin' cool in front of Todd's car

On p. 38 of Going Rogue Sarah continues to discuss her budding relationship with Todd. At the top of the page she writes:

"Our senior year, when my girlfriends were receiving the standard 'cool' gifts, like Van Halen cassette tapes and L.A. Lakers sweatshirts, Todd gave me gold nugget earrings, nestled in a grass-woven Native basket instead of a gift box, the consummate Alaskana gift."

Ah, seemingly simple words!! Yet, I think that, just as we seek out the deepest of mysteries and secrets in the smallest of God's gifts, so we may search for treasures hidden in the words of someone like our Sarah, who is so attuned to "Nature and Nature's God."

She calls Todd's gift "the consummate Alaskana gift." I think these words deserve close examination! What IS it that makes the gift the "consummate" present?!?

Of what does the gift consist? Gold and grass.

Gold in which Alaska is so rich, and which has become a symbol and metaphor for eternity, for timelessness. Why is it, for example, that we speak of the "Golden Age" of Latin Literature? Because the works of Virgil, Cicero, Ovid, Livy, Horace, et al. have a perfection of form and of content that has defied the envious passage of the centuries and even of the millennia. They are timeless.

A writer in First Things once penned the thought that he or she (I can't remember who the writer was) expected that a certain few things would still be around in the year 3,000 A.D. Among the few things enumerated were "the Latin and Greek Classics." So, an element of Todd's gift was made of this precious, timeless Alaskan metal.

Grass. What of grass, transient, ephemeral grass? Is not the glory of the Creator seen, not just in the 2,000-year-old redwood tree, but also in, for example, the fascinating praying mantis, which has a life span of about ninety days?

Are not Heaven's wonders to be seen equally in a drop of water and in the vastness of a galaxy? Cannot eternal glory for the soul be won both by a lifetime of labors in the Lord's vineyard, and in a heroic moment, an instant pregnant with charity and with eternity?

The Marine throws himself/herself on a grenade to save his/her fellow warriors: The deed of an instant weighs down the Lord's eternal scales of glory, for ages upon endless ages. The Good Thief turns in a second to the Son of God on Good Friday and says, "Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." He is undoubtedly with the Lord as I type these words, and will be forever!

What binds the ageless gold and the swift-fated little leaves of grass together? Love.

The Creator's Love made these two creatures, the gold and the grass.

Loving Native Alaskan hands wrought the gold earrings and wove the basket of grass.

Thus, the Pattern of Love was marked on the gold and on the grass, first by the Lord, then by the Native hands and skill and art that worked with these elements and made little earrings and a little basket. Precious gift.

Todd gave the gift to his Sarah.

A Gift of Love.

Let me note finally that we can see this same juxtaposed mystery of the timeless and the momentary in our Sarah's acts, her speeches in particular. If I may draw from my personal experience, one that was undoubtedly shared by those happy souls who saw and heard her yesterday at Baylor University and has been shared by so many other thousands who have been privileged to meet her, to see her, to listen to her, I can say that, while her orations may last only thirty to sixty minutes, her words and her presence and her light linger forever in a grateful and full memory!!

The moment of the speech itself is transitory; like the grass, it passes away. However, the great golden soul and spirit from which the words of the speech thundered forth, that soul is deathless, as is the sweet memory that her heart has carved into all of our hearts.

Gold and grass and the wonders of the consummate perfection of Love...

Read It For Yourself:

Other Great Sarah Books:

Palin Essentials:

Credits:

All sidebar photos are from Wikimedia. I have tried to post all royalty-free images or to get permission, but in a few cases I could not locate the original source of a photograph or find a way to ask permission.


Contact info: bbrianus@gmail.com.

Other Great Going Rogue Reviews:

Jedediah Bila:

"Palin’s inviting first-person narration that is sometimes whimsical, often confident, and always patriotic...Going Rogue is truly one of those reads in which you put the book down after your eyes graze the final lines and you somehow feel like the writer is someone you’ve known all your life."
John Ziegler:

"I was simply blown away by Going Rogue on almost every level. For many reasons, this is by far the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime..."
Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata:
"Her book washes away all doubts that any reader might have had about her readiness to be president. She comes across as exceptionally bright, dedicated, and passionate about public service. Her moral compass is strong, pointing true North in this case. And she has a wicked sense of humor."
Don Surber:
"Conservatives know why Palin is still standing — and standing taller today than those who tried to bring her down. What does not kill you makes you stronger. Thank you, Tina Fey."

Sarah Palin is Coming to Town

Review by Stanley Fish:

When I walked into the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan last week, I headed straight for the bright young thing who wore an “Ask Me” button, and asked her to point me to the section of the store where I might find Sarah Palin’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” She looked at me as if I had requested a copy of “Mein Kampf” signed in blood by the author....


A few days later...I had begun reading Palin’s book, and while I wouldn’t count myself a fan in the sense of being a supporter, I found it compelling and very well done....

First, the art. The book has an architectonic structure that is built around a single moment, the moment when Palin receives a call from John McCain inviting her to be the vice-presidential candidate of the Republican party. When we first hear about the call it is as much a surprise to us as it was (at least as reported) to her, because for six pages she has been recounting a wonderful family outing at the Alaska State Fair. When her phone rings, she hopes it might be a call from her son Track, a soldier soon to deploy to Iraq, but “it was Senator John McCain asking if I wanted to help him change history.”

And that’s the last we hear of it for 200 pages. In between we hear a lot about Wasilla, high school, basketball, college, marriage, children, Down syndrome, Alaska politics, the environment, a daughter’s pregnancy. The re-entry of John McCain into the narrative on page 208 introduces Palin’s account of the presidential campaign and its aftermath, especially her decision to resign the governorship before the end of her term....


Paradoxically, the effect of the neatly spaced references to the call is to de-emphasize it as a dramatic moment. It is presented not as a climax, but as an interruption of matters more central to Palin’s abiding concerns — her family, Alaska’s prosperity, energy policy. (She loves to rehearse the kind of wonkish details we associate with Hillary Clinton, whom she admires.)

Indeed, it is a feature of this narrative that events we might have expected to be foregrounded are elided or passed over. Palin introduced herself to the nation with a powerful, electrifying speech accepting McCain’s invitation to join the ticket. It gets half a sentence (“I gave my speech”)....


The only event that receives an extended discussion is her resignation. It is important to her because as an act it reflects on her integrity, and she has to be sure (as she eventually was) that she was doing it for the right reasons.

Resigning was a moral act for which she was responsible. The vice-presidential candidacy just happened to her; her account of it reads like an extended “what-I-did-on-my summer-and fall-vacation” essay.


For many politicians, family life is sandwiched in between long hours in public service. Palin wants us to know that for her it is the reverse. Political success is an accident that says nothing about you. Success as a wife, mother and citizen says everything...

I find the voice undeniably authentic...It is the voice of small-town America, with its folk wisdom, regional pride, common sense, distrust of rhetoric (itself a rhetorical trope), love of country and instinctive (not doctrinal) piety.

It says, here are some of the great things that have happened to me, but they are not what makes my life great and American. (“An American life is an extraordinary life.”) It says, don’t you agree with me that family, freedom and the beauties of nature are what sustain us?


And it also says, vote for me next time. For it is the voice of a politician, of the little girl who thought she could fly, tried it, scraped her knees, dusted herself off and “kept walking.”

In the end, perseverance, the ability to absorb defeat without falling into defeatism, is the key to Palin’s character. It’s what makes her run in both senses of the word and it is no accident that the physical act of running is throughout the book the metaphor for joy and real life. Her handlers in the McCain campaign wouldn’t let her run (a mistake, I think, even at the level of photo-op), no doubt because they feared another opportunity to go “off script,” to “go rogue.”

But run she does (and falls, but so what?), and when it is all over and she has lost the vice presidency and resigned the governorship, she goes on a long run and rehearses in her mind the eventful year she has chronicled. And as she runs, she achieves equilibrium and hope: “We’ve been through amazing days, and really, there wasn’t one thing to complain about. I feel such freedom, such hope, such thankfulness for our country, a place where nothing is hopeless.”

The message is clear. America can’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I always get up and run again. Her political opponents, especially those who dismissed Ronald Reagan before he was elected, should take note. Wherever you are, you better watch out. Sarah Palin is coming to town.

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