Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Happy Thanksgiving! (With a Wendell Berry Quote)

We are up to our elbows in Thanksgiving preparation in my little cottage. Joy is here for a visit and we are chopping onions (and crying), baking superb (if we do say so ourselves) pies, and doing important things in between like watching Lark Rise to Candleford episodes and painting our nails a festive crimson. 


Tonight, round the table with a few English and American friends, we'll celebrate the things we're thankful for, read some Scripture together, and pray. There is so much for which my heart wells up in gratitude this year, not least the fact that there is another with us at the table, if yet unseen! Her presence is such grace. 


As part of this evening I'll read aloud the following passage from a Wendell Berry novel I love, called Remembering. It's hard to give enough context, but the novel traces a middle aged farmer's journey from a place of spiritual desolation and tragedy, as he is drawn back into fellowship and a sense of , not by his own effort, but by the chosen faith and fierce love of those who have gone before him, especially his wife. When I think of gratitude, it is this passage that often comes to mind:

He takes his suitcase out of the cab and walks to the house and across the back porch, through the screen door, and into the kitchen, a pretty room, bright and quiet. He loves this quiet and he stands still in it, breathing it in. There is a note to him on the table; after looking at it for a minute of two, he goes over and reads it:
-You're back?
-Mart called. They have lots of beans.
-We've gone to pick and visit.
-Love, F. 
With her note in his hand, standing in her place, in her absence, he feels the strong quietness with which she has cared for him all through his grief and his anger. He feels her justice, her great dignity in her suffering of him. He feels around him a blessedness that he has lived in, in his anger, and did not know. He is walking now, from room to room, breathing in the smell of the life that the two of them have made, and that she has kept. He walks from room to room, entering each as for the first time, leaving it as if forever. And he says over and over to himself, "I am blessed. I am blessed."

I get tears in my eyes just typing that out (I know, I know, I'm so pregnant). That rich evocation of him, standing in a blessedness he did not even know, then finally grasping it. The breathless grace of it. This is how I feel about God's love, about my marriage, about my precious family, about this coming baby. 

As you bustle around in your own home, amidst your own celebration, I wish so heartily that you too will have a moment of that knowledge, of love standing around you. May you know yourself blessed, blessed. 

Have a marvelous feast!