THIRTY-THREE

#22

On p. 33 Sarah is discussing her high-school basketball career. She also proceeds to one of the most momentous moments in her life. Here are two passages from the page.

She writes:

"In high school, I played basketball, my name next to number 22 on the varsity roster all four years. I mainly rode the bench during close games, until my senior year, because I played point guard behind a much stronger player, my sister Heather.

"Our team was made up of a group of best girlfriends...We were the Cinderella team my sophomore and junior years, having fallen short in hard-fought state championship games in back-to-back years. But as soon as Heather and her senior teammates graduated, the B-team finally had the opportunity to prove we had it in us."

And, further on down the page:

"By my senior year of high school, I had been praying that God wouldn't have in mind for my future one of the local boys I'd grown up with. I loved those guys a lot, but I looked at them all like brothers. I had just about given up hope that I would ever meet a guy I could really like as more than just a buddy. Then a new kid came to town.

"In late August 1981, my dad drove to Wasilla High to get his classroom ready for the start of the school year. That night at dinner, he had news to share.

" 'Stopped by the gym to talk with some of the coaches today,' he said. 'That new kid, Palin, was there. I watched him practice for a while. I can tell you right now, he's the best basketball player Wasilla's ever had.' " [end of p. 33; I shall continue with this account when I come to the commentary on p. 34]

What is the golden thread and bond of unity between these two passages? I think that it is humility. And I believe that "humility" is a word and a concept that is much misunderstood.

I think it can be confused with obsequiousness, with false and feigned modesty, with presumptuous pride masking and disguising itself as lowly self-abasement. But is this really what the word denotes and connotes?

Etymologically, the word ultimately derives from the Latin "humus," "ground," "earth." Would it be completely off the mark to assert that to be "humble" is to be firmly "grounded" in the solid "earth" and soil of reality?

True, the word "humility" does signify "lowness." But, lowness in RELATION to what? (All such terms, "lowness," "height," "smallness," "weightiness," etc. must be defined against, in relation to, something.) In this case, something or someone is "humble" if he/she/it stands in a proper relationship to the criterion of reality. And the ultimate REALITY is the Lord.

So, here is our Sarah, competitive and feisty and fearless as she was and is and always will be, admitting frankly that her sister was, what?, not just a "stronger" player than she was, but a "much stronger" one! Precisely because she perceives the way things ARE, and acknowledges truth, she is lifted up.

"Omnis qui se exaltat, humiliabitur; et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur."

"Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted."

Where did this honest, clear-sighted self-knowledge lead? In the end, to the state high-school championship game, where it was not skill and marvelous athleticism that were required so much as grit and guts and steely determination, as Sarah played on a stress-fractured ankle to help her squad win it all!!!

Because she admitted her limitations, the Lord revealed her strengths to her, and made her particular strong points the decisive force and factor on that marvelous and triumphant evening!

What about the latter citations? Don't we behold Sarah acknowledging that it is God who will select a spouse and partner for her? Only the Lord can fully read the hearts that He has made, can see the future, can see the fate and fortune of each one of us. Precisely, I think, because she placed her future and her happiness humbly into His hands and power, she was exalted, at just the right moment, by the revelation of her true and lifelong love.

And is it not striking that basketball was the thing that caught and captured her initial interest??

Because she did not try arrogantly to arrogate to herself a skill in hoops that she did not possess, the kind and JUST Lord used basketball, basketball precisely, as His instrument to draw and attract her at the beginning to Todd. Much else followed later on, of course, as we shall soon see in the coming pages. However, it all started with basketball!

Instrumentum exaltationis; instrumentum damnationis.

"Instrument of exaltation; instrument of damnation."

We may observe the opposite course of divine dispositions in the case of Haman in the Book of Esther: This criminal, Haman, is hanged on the very gallows that he, in his overweening arrogance, has prepared for the just and righteous Mordecai!

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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