There’s a New Sheriff in Town: Part 4, Recovery

(This is the last of four somewhat-political posts, three from my inauguration experience and one from recent conversations with a Kenyan co-worker who lived near–and worked with–the President’s father.)

From conversing with a co-worker, I learned that President Obama and I have a number of things in common—all bad things from our childhoods. A Kenyan, my co-worker lived near and worked with President Obama’s father. And as he shared, I was amazed that God delivered Barak Obama from these challenges in much the same way he delivered me. So, here it goes….

My co-worker told me that Barak Obama Sr., the President’s father, always had a cigarette in his mouth. I likewise grew up in a house that was always filled with smoke. I traveled in a smoky car. My clothing broadcast the scent of smoke. I often struggled to breathe well, and asthma lingers today.

He likewise shared that Barak Sr. needed to have a few drinks in him before becoming productive. My dad is also a drinker, and has been an excessive drinker at times. When I was a child, though, my mother fronted for him, leading me to believe that he fell asleep on the porch again, or fell asleep in the bathtub again, or fell asleep while driving his truck again. Even today, my dad sometimes downs a couple before my visits to calm his nerves.

I was also surprised to hear my co-worker tell of the five women with whom Barak Sr. was intimate. The President’s mother was Barak Sr.’s second wife, although it seems that she was unaware of his existing Kenyan marriage. Then he moved on after a few years. Fidelity has also proven a challenge for my father. The President and I both come from broken homes.

My co-worker says that when he saw Barak Obama, our President, as a school-aged boy, neither he nor anyone else had any idea what he would become. No one expects much from the children of promiscuous, vice-ridden men, be they common laborers , or brilliant, influential men like the President’s father. Nevertheless, for those who worry that they or their children may become products of dysfunction, take hope that both the President’s story and mine reveal an engaged Creator who contends for beautiful endings.


~ by shad on January 28, 2009.

2 Responses to “There’s a New Sheriff in Town: Part 4, Recovery”

  1. Shad, though we might not be on the same page politically, I’ve appreciated your 4-part series on the new “sheriff.” Good job! Enjoying your blog much!

  2. I love this: “an engaged Creator who contends for beautiful endings.” It’s a theme that I cling to when lingering fears try to say, “See, you’re doomed to repeat the past.” In an intangible way, this post makes me think about “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

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