Make us worthy, God in Heaven. Of this goodly land of Thine. Hearts as open as thy doorways. Liberal hands and spirits free.
Alabama, Alabama, we will aye be true to thee! But the truth is Alabama sings another song louder and longer, of rivers poisoned by polluters and regulators who look the other way , of anger and fear and a people who want only to slam their doors as tight as their hearts. It is the story the world sees. Alabama, Alabama.
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It is a state that makes abortion a felony , even in the case of a child raped by her brother or father or tormentor, the one that claims to love life so much it charges a woman shot in the stomach for the death of her unborn child. It is a state that boasts of the purity of its women but until this year allowed rapists to claim parental rights for a child conceived during his crime.
We will aye be true to thee! It is a state of chemical castration , where to get out of jail on parole sex offenders would have to pay for meds to make them eunuchs. It is a state of corruption, where the most powerful offenders — like former House Speaker Mike Hubbard — seemingly never have to go to jail at al l.
It is a state that bans yoga in schools, because it is afraid of hidden messages and anything foreign. She worked to make prisons more humane, especially for women and children, and looked constantly for ways to better educate the people of Alabama. She wanted us to love ourselves so we could love others. She is now remembered most for the prison that bears her name, a shameful and dehumanizing memorial that has also gained national attention.
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It is time to be true to ourselves. The song we sing every day, in city halls and courthouses and statehouses and life itself, is the one for which we are rightly known. It is not a love song. Not anymore. He took it and pulled her toward him, leaned in.
The desire to close her eyes and surrender, let him kiss her, washed over like a sweet spring shower. His lips brushed her burning skin. He kissed her then moved on to her ear. Can I come in? She pressed her fingertips on his chest, pushing a bit, and smiled. But you can write me. I love long letters. He nodded then seemed to study her shoes a moment. When he looked back up, a troubled expression wrinkled his forehead. Staring into her eyes, he reached up and tapped the tip of her nose.
She pushed him back, hard. The urge to slap his face burned her hand as though she had, but a long time ago, she learned not to go around hitting guys. What was the last week all about, you jerk?
Get away from me, Richard. Go home. She shook her head to make them go away. A horror filled his eyes. He shook his head no and opened his mouth, but no words came out. How could I have thought he might be the one? The desire to run after him and slap some smarts into him faded. He turned the corner; she pushed her door open, stepped inside, then hugged it, resting her forehead on its edge. It hit her. It seemed no one ever saw the real her. Oh, they loved her voice, her songs, or the way she sang. Who knew?
Worship Wednesday: Why Singing a New Song Can Change Your Life
Maybe the way she looked, or walked, or blah blah blah. She shut the door and flung herself across the bed. Tears welled and overflowed, wetting the white duvet. That such an idiot could have been husband material! She screamed into the towel, bawling like an idiot. She flipped to her back and stared, suddenly silent, at the ceiling. The stillness rang in her ears. Her breath caught. She swallowed. She barely knew him. What caused all the tears. She loved the idea of love, of belonging to one man, sharing his life… children.
If that was not to be, what had she saved herself for? Wait a minute.
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She saved herself in obedience to God. If she never found a man, if God never sent a Mister Right into her life, she would still remain chaste. For Him, no one else. As long as she could offer praise and worship, extol His Holy name, as long as He invited her into His throne room. She stared at his casket, hated that they kept it closed, but understood the decision.
She wiped her cheeks. Praise God, at least he was in Heaven. Her best friend since first grade kept a solemn expression and squeezed her hand. With the whites of his eyes red streaked and his cheeks wet, he nodded south. She looked back to the casket then found her mother, safe in the center of a sea of black dresses and suits.
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He pulled, and she went along, joined him to see whatever he wanted her to. She studied the marker. Born November 12, ; Traveled home December 11, He was sixty-four when he passed.
My great, great, great grandfather—or maybe four greats. Anyway, did you know he was one of the first Texas Rangers?
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Come over here. A blur came at her, then his lips pressed against hers. For a heartbeat, she kissed him back, then jerked away and swung hard. Her open hand connected square on his cheek. Seemed to shock him almost as much as her. Hopefully, it hurt his face more than her palm. She never expected it to sting her hand so badly, but he deserved it. She jerked upright in bed. She woke with no tears this time and minus the usual heartache of her daddy dying so young.
Instead, the night vision left her a crystal clear realization: exactly what she needed to do. Her resolve flickered a bit as she stood in front of the door across the hall from her room. She smiled.