In the continuing daytime drama that is the Palin family, Bristol is forgiving Levi, Levi is learning to change diapers and Mama Sarah has issued a press release. After Bristol and Levi announced in People magazine that they were back together and engaged, Sarah Palin, hiking Mt. McKinley, issued a press release. In part, the press release comments, “Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.”
Bristol actually does seem to have a grip on the basics of repentance, redemption and forgiveness. Levi needs to help take care of their son, get a job and generally shape up in the responsibility department. No just forgive and forget for Bristol. Now, giving a single Mom a “15 minute break,” which Bristol proudly says is Levi’s contribution to child care, really isn’t all that much help. That means Bristol has the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day to cope with Tripp. It’s the right idea, though.
Levi has apologized (repentance), is learning to be a hands-on parent (redemption), and Bristol is attempting to imagine a new future for the three of them that lets go of the resentments of the past (forgiveness). That’s the basics of the spiritual work of redemption and forgiveness that needs to get done for these young people to form a healthy family and I wish them well. They’re going to need all the good wishes they can get.
Sarah Palin seems to be having a harder time, as seen in her admission of “struggle” with the whole dynamic of repentance, redemption and forgiveness. It’s true that this kind of whole family work of reconciliation is not easy and simple. What is most alarming in this family drama to me, however, is that Sarah, Bristol and Levi have not talked. “There has not been anything where all three of us [have been together],” says Bristol.
Parenting by press release is not going to get this family back on track. The hard work of redemption and forgiveness requires a lot of face time, and it is essential that Bristol, Levi and Sarah all talk honestly with each another about what actually went on, what needs to change and how that change will come about. You can’t do that through press releases.
It is so poignant that Bristol hopes for a future where the family does get together and they have all put aside anger and recrimination. She wants a nice family Thanksgiving. “I see the future like that being possible, where we can all have Thanksgiving together and not have it be awkward.” She’s 19, she’s a single Mom, and she wants the ideal American family Thanksgiving. Of course she does.
But Bristol is not going to get her family Thanksgiving unless Sarah Palin comes down off of Mt. McKinley and talks to these kids–a lot. Put in the face time, Sarah. That’s the hard work of parenting and it is big part of the struggle of redemption and forgiveness that all families have to navigate at one time or another, my own included.