Pumas 4 Palin

Going Rogue Excerpts – “Soul searching continued, though, …”

Posted on: December 1, 2009

[This is the 2nd of a series of planned posts excerpting favorite passages from Governor Sarah Palin’s book ‘Going Rogue’. That title is, of course, a reference to campaign insiders’ fears about Sarah Palin going off the script laid out for her. But it also has echos of the recently wildly popular expression ‘Going Galt’ (as in John Galt of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand). Real Clear Politics explains it all. Language Log explores the ideas around the phrase ‘going rogue’. Please, note that the passages cited here were not ‘cut and paste’ but hand typed, so, any and all typos are entirely those of this blogger. Errors here don’t reflect on the Governor or her publisher. First post in this series can be found here.]

To understand Palin, it’s important to skip around the book. In fact, to understand any biography or autobiography, it is interesting to go back and forth to get the full import and perspective. Few books of value other than tales for children can make sense otherwise. These posts about Going Rogue will therefore meander about the book avoiding both time line and page wise linearity.

In this post, it’s about faith and purpose in life.

Winter 2004 came and with it the unique blanket of darkness that covers our coldest months. For me it was a time of restlessness, the kind when you know in your soul you’re supposed to be preparing for something, that there’s something else out there, but he next open door is not yet revealed. I remember waking up in the middle of the night knowing there was something else, knowing there was room for more.

The kids were growing up quickly, and we moved through fun holiday seasons into the rebirth of spring. Track got his driver’s license, and I trained for a marathon. It was a very contemplative time, and I focused on my family while considering what I might do next. The longs runs provided me with the clarity needed to weigh my options. As the soles of my shoes hit the soft ground, I pushed past the tall cottonwood trees in a euphoric cadence, and meandered through willow branches that the moose munched on. A grassy culvert ran parallel to the road where I logged my long miles. On lucky days, my newly licensed sixteen-year-old drove the route ahead of me, placing water bottles at intervals inside culverts, along with notes of encouragement. “Run, Mom! I love you!” and “Don’t give up!” For any mom, it just meant so much that somebody would do that, especially a busy teenager. It was a great season.

All of that just sets the background of time and place. The Governor now delves into the matter on hand.

The lengthy excerpt continues:

Soul-searching continued, though, tugging at my heart most when I paused to really consider life’s purpose. When Piper was born, Blanche had given me one of those wonderful glider-rockers covered in soft suede. I remember waking up to fresh, fat snowflakes falling outside my bedroom window, the sky as black as India ink. I would pick Piper up from her bed, snuggle her in a worn flannel quilt, and rock with her in the stillness of the night. The gas fireplace would kick on when the temperature dropped to just the right degree, and I could feel the flickers of light and head near my feet. There was longing inside me that winter, a sense of purpose hovering just beyond my vision. Was it ambition? I didn’t think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons. Purpose calls.

I definitely wasn’t driven toward any particular goal, like power or fame or wealth. So what was it? I wondered, as Piper’s sweet breath against my neck matched the rocker’s rhythmic glide. I prayed again that if I was to resign myself to what felt like a public service career cut short, that I’d embrace being home fulltime. I asked that the fire in my belly, and whatever was feeding it, would simmer down.

I thought of a passage from the book of Jeremiah 29:11-13:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord. Plans for peace and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. When you call upon Me I will hear you, when you search for Me you will find Me; if you see Me with all your heart.'”

It irked me that too often women are made to feel guilty for seeking the next open door, no matter what career choices we make. That seems universal. But one doesn’t just create passion, nor consciously generate the feeling that there’s a door standing open somewhere, even if you can’t see it yet. And it wasn’t anyone who pressured me: “Sarah, you’ve got to get out there and fly! Go do more!” But I knew there was something more.

How then did a young Sarah find a way forward?

I thought of the graduation speeches I had been honored to give over the years as mayor and began to apply their message to myself. I often told the kids to ask of themselves: “What gets you excited to wake up in the morning? Is it science? Art? Children, animals, books, sports, mechanics? What is the desire of your heart?”

I’d add: “God put those in you not to tease or frustrate you – He created them in you to give you direction! To put you on the right path – He bridles your passion! So stop and think about what you love to do, then look for signposts along the way that confirm you’re on the right path to doing that – doors opening, people with your best interests at heart supporting what you’re doing.”

I wasn’t sure what I was to next, yet. But I also knew I was blessed with a supportive family and a husband who took joy in my working hard,  so I knew I had options. As I rocked my daughter all those dark nights, I knew that what still stirred passion in me was the desire to make a positive difference for others, not just in my family and community but in the wider world as well. I resolved to seek confirming signs along the way – the open doors – to show me the right road.

Finding purpose in life and the strength to carry oneself through it, is one of the great universal themes of writing. All great stories of journeys are so charged. Great poetry, and all art, in fact, quite often entails a crisis of confidence of some sort. Political autobiographies without exception deal with this theme.

What makes the passages from Sarah Palin book charming and convincing are the simple language, the direct speech and the complete lack of bombast. Were she to have been more pretentious, she would have quoted all sorts of literary classics or masters of science. Instead, what we read about and feel about in these passages is Sarah herself. From the references to her soon-to-be-a-soldier son, to the moose, and to Wasilla graduations, it’s all one simply worded tale of self-exposition. In these passages as int the rest of the book, the Governor is not reaching for heights of academic laurels or depths of psycho-babble. She is telling us an unadulterated, unembellished  story of her life and being. Is America listening, I surely hope so!

To the voters of America, I say: listen to this lady closely. She is the real deal. Don’t destroy her like you did Hillary. Should the voters of 2010, 2012 and beyond chose to disregard Sarah Palin, there will be even sorrier reflection about who they voted in (Seven stories Barack Obama doesn’t want told, John Harris, Politico.) Finally, it’s unnatural for bloggers to promote posts written by others, but that John Harris post at Politico, and the reaction to it,  are a must read for everyone, including those in White House.

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