Desmond Tutu has always been a star in my universe. I first encountered him at an anti-apartheid rally he held on campus at the University of California at Davis when I was an undergraduate. I was electrified! Such vision! Such an understanding of hope! Such faith that goodness will prevail!
We marched together from Davis to Sacramento... it was one of the defining events of my young adult life.
Fast forward almost 20 years. I am now the mother of 2 boys with autism with a husband who had been overseas in Iraq. That year was harder than I can describe. All kinds of questions were rumbling through my life.. questions about the innate integrity of human beings, questions about God, questions about what faith means, questions about what it means to be vulnerable and what it means to love.
I was raised without a faith tradition, and I was utterly unequipped to answer these questions on my own. Being "too alone" in all of this was a large part of the problem. Enter once again Desmond Tutu... a voice that I intuitively knew had an understanding of God that I could trust... this time in the form of the written word. God Has A Dream. Goodness will prevail. We are all God-bearers... despite the view that the world holds of us.
I walked into an Episcopal Church because I knew it was part of the Anglican Communion that Arch-Bishop Tutu was part of. I was aching for an understanding that even partially mirrored the depth of his. I wanted to know the God of compassion that held him up and made him strong.
I read in a biography of Desmond Tutu that the rally we participated in together at Davis occurred at a time when his spirits were dragging in the fight against Apartheid. And that the energy he found with us renewed his hope. One of my dreams is that he could somehow know what a tremendous impact he had on me..... how he was a path that lead me to understand hope in a time when I really needed to.
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