Home for Christmas

Hannah Overton has been released from jail, as of yesterday evening when the judge granted her bail and her friends, family, and church posted the necessary $50,000.

The Texas Monthly has a celebratory article/analysis here.
The legal blogs “Grits for Breakfast” and the “Charles Smith Blog” have analyses here and here.

This is the first time in 7 years that Hannah has been able to hug her children — including her daughter Emma, who was a nursing infant when Hannah was initially incarcerated. It’s much to be hoped that this is the end of a long journey for a family that has been through so much already.

However, the new D.A. Mark Skurka has not yet changed his mind on his decision to retry Hannah. Part of me wants to see the case go to trial just so that the jury can find Hannah actually innocent. An innocence verdict would put the state on the hook for $80,000 per year of incarceration, though even that is only a nominal compensation compared to the years of family life that Hannah has lost. Who knows? Hannah’s faith in God’s good will for her has remained steadfast throughout this ordeal. Maybe one of the hidden purposes for a retrial would be the actual achievement of justice?

*     *      *     *     *

In the meantime, here is one of my favorite hymn arrangements by a modern composer. The hymn itself is old (Samuel Rodigast, d. 1708), but the tune is new (Josh Bauder, 2013), and I think of it whenever I read Hannah’s letters or hear about her case.

What God Ordains Is Always Good

What God ordains is always good:
His will is just and holy.
And though my way be wrought with thorns,
I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed
In every need
Knows well how he will shield me;
To him, then, I will yield me.

What God ordains is always good:
He is my friend and father;
He suffers naught to do me harm
Though many storms may gather.
Now I may know
Both joy and woe;
Someday I shall see clearly
That he has loved me dearly.

What God ordains is always good:
Though I the cup am drinking
Which savors now of bitterness,
I take it without shrinking.
For after grief
God gives relief,
My heart with comfort filling
And all my sorrow stilling.

What God ordains is always good:
This truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
I shall not be forsaken.
I fear no harm,
For with his arm
He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me.

~ Samuel Rodigast (1649-1708), trans. composite

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About middlingpoet

From the Gawain poet to Rainer Maria Rilke: I love the English and German traditions of poetry.
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