After finishing Children of God, I went down to Castle Sands. The North Sea shines silver, reflecting a pearl sky, the moon, bright even when the clouds overhead are dark with rain. As the waves broke over the bones of the earth, it was not difficult to imagine Poseidon’s chariots, stretching the fingers of his dominion farther up the shore. I put my hand on the surface and asked, “Do you breathe?” and was answered with a rise, a reach, water around my feet. The tide was coming in. The pool was still, opal, stirred only by the tips of angels’ wings and the stones I skipped once, twice, three times across. Or by the stones that fell. I walked across the rocks, beautiful when wet, and promised them descendants like Abraham’s. “The earth exists because you are here.” A little ways away is a hollow in another ridge where I placed stones for the fictional dead. The sea will take them, and then with the resolution of Children of God I might be released from the awful debt of love.
There were times when Children of God felt like Russell was trying to do too much: at least 18 points of view instead of 12, three timelines instead of two, the narrative of change and misunderstanding and victory and loss instead of a soul searching for God, but with the resolution came the unity of voices best described as God’s music. The horrors of The Sparrow were not undone, and the dead did not come back to life. Faith is staring into the terrible and still finding beauty. The sparrow still falls, but with faith comes hope. And if faith is only poetry and song, it remains poetry to live for. When I finished Children of God, I was left quiet and still as I was with The Sparrow, but not empty, for it ended with hope and a promise, and that is how I know Children of God to be a comedy and not a tragedy. Perhaps the greatest gift God has given man is the power to forgive.
I relate most to John Candotti. And if they sent him out, well, then maybe there is hope for me after all. 🙂
Now, it’s time to watch the Inauguration ceremony online. Sipaj, Obama, someone wishes you the best.
Edit: Kelly’s review for The Sparrow can be found here.