There were pretty big differences between the Jackie Robinson Story and The Dave Carrol Story. He was a South-of-the-Mason Dixon black rights activist during the historical breaking point of American segregation... and I was a sarcastic Suburban Canadian white kid. But when I heard this incredible story about a dissatisfied, young hot-head who used our common muse of baseball to beat of the crap out of a broken status-quo... I was enraptured.
- When I heard that Jackie LIKED sports but CARED MORE about his larger destiny... I was THERE.
- When I heard that he was a strong rebel WITH a cause within the Negro Leagues first... I researched and dug deeper.
- When I heard about the visionary entrepreneurial AND justice-laced actions of Branch Rickey... I dreamed deeper and wider.
- When I heard about how Canada embraced Jackie before others did... I was proud.
- When I heard about the scene, that I can't wait to watch in "42" tonight, where Rickey verbally abused Jackie in his office and told him that THAT'S what he have to ENDURE to be able to BE an apostle... I dug deeper in my soul's understanding.
- When I heard about the cost and depth of Jackie's friendship with Pee Wee Reese... I never wanted to wade into the shallows again.
- When I heard about the love for, and CO-devotion to cause of, Jack and Rachael Robinson... I knew what kind of wife I wanted.
Then I heard about how the stresses and sacrifices that Jackie actively and willingly made in life... pretty much killed him. And................ it stirred me MORE. Not less. Today, Rachael Robinson still fights the fight and is vigilant about Jackie's legacy. Because it COST her. But it was a cost that was worth something and CHANGED things.
I still find Rev. Jesse Jackson's eulogy for Jackie one of the most beautiful things ever written. And it's a piece that has stood the test of time... because Jackie was an apostle. A sent one.
Today we must balance the tears of sorrow with the tears of joy. Mix the bitter with the sweet in death and life. Jackie as a figure in history was a rock in the water, creating concentric circles and ripples of new possibility. He was medicine. He was immunized by God from catching the diseases that he fought. The Lord's arms of protection enabled him to go through dangers seen and unseen, and he had the capacity to wear glory with grace. Jackie's body was a temple of God. An instrument of peace. We would watch him disappear into nothingness and stand back as spectators, and watch the suffering from afar. The mercy of God intercepted this process Tuesday and permitted him to steal away home, where referees are out of place, and only the supreme judge of the universe speaks.
It's also worth listening to the cadence of Jesse's actual voice with the haunting piano Jacqueline Schwab playing "Steal Away"
As long as I've had a desk... this picture of Jackie Robinson has been close to it.
Jackie is my reminder of the necessity of sacrifice, pain and cost that comes with apostolic forging into what SHOULD be for OTHERS freedom.