Who I Am and How I Got Here?
I’m from the generation that stared at test patterns on the TV, first plastered a transistor radio to their ear, served in an unwanted and unpopular war, saw a President assassinated, one resigned, one who should have, saw men step on the moon, and people blow-up in the sky trying to go to space. I have lived through IMAX, iPhones, Ipads, and now dealing with I forgot, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I find myself most comfortable with people who are skeptical and cynical but not to the degree of being downright negative or depressing. In other words, they see or want to see the silver lining, but constantly aware of the dark cloud and are certain of its potential.
What is read early influences one throughout life. The first book I read that deeply impressed me (8th grade) was To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch was a man born of principle. He did the right thing because to him it was the only thing to do. The book Billy Budd followed. It left me thinking for weeks. The outcry of Billy Budd prior to his hanging impressed upon me the need to always be forgiving. “God bless you, Captain Vere!” was Billy Budd’s cry to the man responsible for his execution just before hung. Of course, Melville likely borrowed it from Jesus’ execution, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
In my early twenties, I became more interested in the Bible, not as literature or a collection of lessons taught by narratives, but as God’s inspired message to man. It has been the Bible that gives redemption and forgiveness context, reason, and form for the Billy Budd-like declaration. We do it because God forgives. It is good and healthy for us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Life is an unending chain of events of wrongs to us and as we have likewise done to others. Forgiveness is the only thing that makes sense. It gives depth and background for the Finch-like character I read about. Animals don’t retaliate for harm done to them, because they forget. Humans remember. Forgiveness is what prevents retaliation. It seems to be a quality unique in creation to humans.
Redemption seems, in some ways, an underlying thread in my writing. If not outright expressed it is often the reflex that pushes the key that forms the word that makes the story.
The desire to make things right when we offend is universal as is the need to extend forgiveness. It comes naturally. We can’t live without it or the hope it produces.