Several years ago, I sat around a table in the evening with some of the most important people in my life. The incandescent light of the place glowed on our faces as it has so many evenings over the years.
I was talking about an uncertain job and a desire to teach. My cousin was trying to convince me to take the jump. “We have to get you to do this,” she said. But as we talked, I must have said something that revealed a bit of my worldview, my pessimism and cynicism. Because other cousin’s son looked at over me with wide eyes and said, “But David, you’d never be able to tell the children that!”
It was true. And I never took that jump, which is probably just as well, because I am deeply cynical and unforgivingly negative about the system of this world.
But this week. Oh my heavens, this week. The supremes several times spoke in ways that I never would have dared hope for. And there’s talk of the battle flag coming down from some of its many perches in the south. And the president stood before a full Mother Emmanuel congregation and gave an amazing eulogy.
He spoke with no teleprompter. He spoke with and nodded to and smiled at those around him. He spoke his words that made even a cynic stop and listen. He spoke amazing words.
And at the end… At the end of those words he paused and gazed at his hands on the podium. He stood there quietly for a moment and then several moments longer. Quiet filled the sanctuary. And then he slowly looked up, and he began to sing.
The President of the United States of America stood in front of them, in front of us, and he began to sing Amazing Grace (video).
It was enough to bring tears to the eyes of even this cynical wretch.