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  • There we were,

    譯者: nr chan 審譯者: Kuan-Yi Li

  • souls and bodies packed into a Texas church

    我們身在那裡

  • on the last night of our lives.

    靈魂和身體全塞在一間德州的教堂

  • Packed into a room just like this,

    度過我們生命的最後一晚

  • but with creaky wooden pews draped in worn-down red fabric,

    擠在一個像這樣的房間

  • with an organ to my left and a choir at my back

    但老舊的木長凳上 蓋著的是破損的紅布

  • and a baptism pool built into the wall behind them.

    而我左方是架管風琴 後方有唱詩班

  • A room like this, nonetheless.

    唱詩班後面的牆後是個受洗池

  • With the same great feelings of suspense,

    儘管在這樣的空間

  • the same deep hopes for salvation,

    大家還是有著一樣強烈的信念

  • the same sweat in the palms

    一樣打從心底地等待著救贖

  • and the same people in the back not paying attention.

    手掌心同樣冒著汗

  • (Laughter)

    而坐在後排的人也一樣心不在焉

  • This was December 31, 1999,

    (笑聲)

  • the night of the Second Coming of Christ,

    那是 1999 年的 12 月 31 日

  • and the end of the world as I knew it.

    是耶穌再臨的夜晚

  • I had turned 12 that year

    也是我所認知的末日

  • and had reached the age of accountability.

    我那年才 12 歲

  • And once I stopped complaining

    剛到了問責的年紀 (指開始承擔原罪,對神負責)

  • about how unfair it was that Jesus would return

    而當我停止抱怨

  • as soon as I had to be accountable for all that I had done,

    在我剛開始問責

  • I figured I had better get my house in order very quickly.

    耶穌就將再臨是多麼的不公平時

  • So I went to church as often as I could.

    我意識到我得趕快振作起來

  • I listened for silence as anxiously as one might listen for noise,

    所以我盡可能地去教堂

  • trying to be sure that the Lord hadn't pulled a fast one on me

    我專注並心焦地聆聽著靜默 如人感受著風吹草動般

  • and decided to come back early.

    我試著確定耶和華並不是在捉弄我

  • And just in case he did,

    而選擇這麼早就再臨

  • I built a backup plan,

    而如果祂真的選擇這麼早再臨

  • by reading the "Left Behind" books that were all the rage at the time.

    我還有個備案

  • And I found in their pages

    曾經紅極一時的書《末日迷蹤》

  • that if I was not taken in the rapture at midnight,

    裡頭告訴我

  • I had another shot.

    如果我沒有在子夜時分被送到天堂

  • All I had to do was avoid taking the mark of the beast,

    我就有機會賭一把

  • fight off demons, plagues and the Antichrist himself.

    全部要做的就是避免拿到獸之印記

  • It would be hard --

    並打退惡魔和反基督教者

  • (Laughter)

    這可能有難度

  • but I knew I could do it.

    (笑聲)

  • (Laughter)

    但我確信我做得到

  • But planning time was over now.

    (笑聲)

  • It was 11:50pm.

    我已經沒時間計畫了

  • We had 10 minutes left,

    已經晚上 11:50

  • and my pastor called us out of the pews and down to the altar

    我們只剩 10 分鐘

  • because he wanted to be praying when midnight struck.

    牧師叫大家起身並到壇前

  • So every faction of the congregation

    因為他想在子夜那時祈禱

  • took its place.

    所以眾教徒

  • The choir stayed in the choir stand,

    各就定位

  • the deacons and their wives --

    唱詩班留在原位

  • or the Baptist Bourgeoisie as I like to call them --

    而副祭們和他們的老婆

  • (Laughter)

    我比較喜歡叫他們 浸信會的中產階級

  • took first position in front of the altar.

    (笑聲)

  • You see, in America,

    則坐在壇前第一排

  • even the Second Coming of Christ has a VIP section.

    如你所見,在美國

  • (Laughter)

    就算耶穌再臨也有 VIP 區

  • (Applause)

    (笑聲)

  • And right behind the Baptist Bourgeoisie

    (掌聲)

  • were the elderly --

    而在這群中產階級的後一排

  • these men and women whose young backs had been bent under hot suns

    是長者們

  • in the cotton fields of East Texas,

    這群男女年輕時 在東德州的烈日下彎著腰

  • and whose skin seemed to be burnt a creaseless noble brown,

    在棉花田裡工作

  • just like the clay of East Texas,

    他們的皮膚被炙成了平滑高雅的棕色

  • and whose hopes and dreams for what life might become

    就如同東德州的泥土

  • outside of East Texas

    離開東德州過好生活

  • had sometimes been bent and broken

    這樣的希望和夢想

  • even further than their backs.

    已經殘破不堪

  • Yes, these men and women were the stars of the show for me.

    甚於他們的背

  • They had waited their whole lives for this moment,

    是的,這群男女 對我來說是今天的主角

  • just as their medieval predecessors had longed for the end of the world,

    他們等了一輩子就為了這一刻

  • and just as my grandmother waited for the Oprah Winfrey Show

    猶如中世紀的先人期待末日

  • to come on Channel 8 every day at 4 o'clock.

    也像是我奶奶每天 4 點

  • And as she made her way to the altar,

    切到第 8 台等歐普拉的秀一樣

  • I snuck right in behind her,

    當我奶奶走向壇前

  • because I knew for sure

    我偷偷尾隨在她身後

  • that my grandmother was going to heaven.

    因為我確知

  • And I thought that if I held on to her hand during this prayer,

    我奶奶會去天堂

  • I might go right on with her.

    我想,如果我在禱告時握住她的手

  • So I held on

    我就能跟她一起去

  • and I closed my eyes

    所以我緊握著手

  • to listen,

    閉上雙眼

  • to wait.

    聆聽

  • And the prayers got louder.

    等待

  • And the shouts of response to the call of the prayer

    禱告聲越來越大

  • went up higher even still.

    此起彼落的呼聲

  • And the organ rolled on in to add the dirge.

    使禱告聲更為高亢

  • And the heat came on to add to the sweat.

    管風琴也加入彈頌哀歌

  • And my hand gripped firmer,

    握熱的手心則冒著汗

  • so I wouldn't be the one left in the field.

    我的手緊握

  • My eyes clenched tighter

    以免被留在凡間

  • so I wouldn't see the wheat being separated from the chaff.

    我的雙眼緊閉

  • And then a voice rang out above us:

    這樣才看不到麥子從糠中被分離

  • "Amen."

    接著是一聲:

  • It was over.

    「阿門」

  • I looked at the clock.

    一切都結束了

  • It was after midnight.

    我看看時鐘

  • I looked at the elder believers

    已經過了 12 點

  • whose savior had not come,

    我看向那群長者

  • who were too proud to show any signs of disappointment,

    他們的救世主沒來

  • who had believed too much and for too long

    他們因為驕傲而沒露出一絲的失望

  • to start doubting now.

    他們相信得太深太久

  • But I was upset on their behalf.

    如今也未曾質疑信仰

  • They had been duped,

    我對他們的反應感到心煩意亂

  • hoodwinked, bamboozled,

    他們被騙了

  • and I had gone right along with them.

    被欺瞞、被哄騙

  • I had prayed their prayers,

    而我竟跟他們一起

  • I had yielded not to temptation as best I could.

    我跟著禱告

  • I had dipped my head not once, but twice

    我試著不被誘惑

  • in that snot-inducing baptism pool.

    我也不只一次,而是兩度

  • I had believed.

    把頭浸入那讓人流鼻涕的受洗池

  • Now what?

    我曾深信不疑

  • I got home just in time to turn on the television

    現在呢?

  • and watch Peter Jennings announce the new millennium

    我及時回家打開電視

  • as it rolled in around the world.

    看彼得.詹寧斯宣告

  • It struck me that it would have been strange anyway,

    世界各地前後到來的千禧年

  • for Jesus to come back again and again

    我突然意識到一件事

  • based on the different time zones.

    耶穌在不同時區不停地再臨

  • (Laughter)

    這樣的話太詭異了

  • And this made me feel even more ridiculous --

    (笑聲)

  • hurt, really.

    而這讓我覺得荒謬

  • But there on that night, I did not stop believing.

    心很痛,真的

  • I just believed a new thing:

    但我不是在那晚就不再相信

  • that it was possible not to believe.

    我只是相信了一件新的事情:

  • It was possible the answers I had were wrong,

    一個人也可以選擇不相信

  • that the questions themselves were wrong.

    可能我的答案是錯的

  • And now, where there was once a mountain of certitude,

    而問題本身也可能是錯的

  • there was, running right down to its foundation,

    只要有一座代表確信的山峰

  • a spring of doubt,

    就會有一條代表懷疑的小溪

  • a spring that promised rivers.

    而小溪往山腳流去

  • I can trace the whole drama of my life

    終會匯聚成河流

  • back to that night in that church

    我可以將我的人生回溯到

  • when my savior did not come for me;

    那晚的教堂

  • when the thing I believed most certainly

    救世主並沒有前來的那晚

  • turned out to be, if not a lie,

    當我所相信的事物很明顯地

  • then not quite the truth.

    就算不說是個謊言

  • And even though most of you prepared for Y2K in a very different way,

    也不能說是事實的時候

  • I'm convinced that you are here

    即便在座絕大多數可能 以不同的方式面對千禧年

  • because some part of you has done the same thing that I have done

    但我相信仍有人跟我一樣

  • since the dawn of this new century,

    在這個新世紀的破曉時分

  • since my mother left and my father stayed away

    跟我做了一樣的事

  • and my Lord refused to come.

    自從我母親的離世 與父親的離去

  • And I held out my hand,

    以及主拒絕前來

  • reaching for something to believe in.

    我伸出我的手

  • I held on when I arrived at Yale at 18,

    試著探觸、 尋找一個能讓我相信的東西

  • with the faith that my journey from Oak Cliff, Texas

    我 18 歲時進了耶魯大學

  • was a chance to leave behind all the challenges I had known,

    心想離開了德州的奧克利夫

  • the broken dreams and broken bodies I had seen.

    就能夠將我所知的困難

  • But when I found myself back home one winter break,

    還有殘破的夢想、身形拋諸腦後

  • with my face planted in the floor,

    但當我寒假回家

  • my hands tied behind my back

    臉被壓在地上

  • and a burglar's gun pressed to my head,

    手被綁在背後

  • I knew that even the best education couldn't save me.

    而竊賊的槍抵著我的腦門時

  • I held on when I showed up at Lehman Brothers

    我知道即使最好的教育也救不了我

  • as an intern in 2008.

    2008 年當我在雷曼兄弟

  • (Laughter)

    當實習生時也在尋找

  • So hopeful --

    (笑聲)

  • (Laughter)

    我充滿希望──

  • that I called home to inform my family

    (笑聲)

  • that we'd never be poor again.

    我打回家告訴家人

  • (Laughter)

    我們不會再貧困了

  • But as I witnessed this temple of finance

    (笑聲)

  • come crashing down before my eyes,

    但我親眼見證金融聖殿

  • I knew that even the best job couldn't save me.

    在我面前坍塌

  • I held on when I showed up in Washington DC as a young staffer,

    我知道即便最好的工作也救不了我

  • who had heard a voice call out from Illinois,

    我在華盛頓特區當年輕職員時尋找

  • saying, "It's been a long time coming,

    聽到來自伊利諾州的聲音

  • but in this election, change has come to America."

    說:「大家等待很久了,

  • But as the Congress ground to a halt

    但在這次的選舉,美國將會改變。」

  • and the country ripped at the seams

    但國會仍停滯不前

  • and hope and change began to feel like a cruel joke,

    而國家分崩離析

  • I knew that even the political second coming

    希望與改變對我來說 像是個殘酷的玩笑

  • could not save me.

    我知道就算政治重來