Not that I have been away, actually. I have taken a break from writing for a while, though I can't remember just why. I was honored in seeing Joanna, my daughter, refer to my postings in her own blog and her words have prompted me to take up writing once again. Watching one's children grow into adults, complete with their own views and convictions about what matters in life is a joy and a privilege. To have them come to some of the same conclusions I have come to is especially moving and though a parent may try and take the credit for such outcomes, I do not. When I think of my parents' values I did not and do not share I realize that our children must come to what they hold dear in their own time and through their own searching. Joanna's blog, A Veiw From Wood Road, has been a chronicle of what she treasures and what she wrestles with and the link to her postings is on the side bar.
I have been hearing a refrain over the last few months that I am starting to find somewhat amusing. People have been asking if I have read Wendell Berry's works. Whether the query is in response to something I have said about my Appalachian connections, my interest in the land, my love of wildlife, my philosophy of agriculture, my simple lifestyle in Africa or the presence of God in all of those areas, it seems that someone asks if I have read Wendell Berry's fiction, poems or essays. I have not asked them just why they are asking or how they think I will benefit from the reading but I think I might from now on. The fact is that I have read some of his works and what has been a surprise and a joy is that I have finally found someone who agrees with me in almost all that I hold dear. The convictions that matter to Wendell Berry do not need to be explained to me because they are already a part of the fabric of my makeup and being.
When people tell me that they like Wendell Berry's writings, I am curious. Do they like all of his writings and messages or just some of them? I know folks who like what he writes about community but don't agree with his emphasis on small farming or the need for an intentional stewardship of the land. I know some who would like his call to a simple, sustainable lifestyle without the acquisition of more and more of the latest innovations but would not agree with his position of Christian non-resistance. And I know of some who like his fiction but feel threatened because he is not utilizing the latest technology and, in fact, speaks against it.
I will continue to read his works because his words ring true and remind me of who I am. Just like my Uncle Orien's do. Both remind me of my family and heritage and of the legacy left to me by my grandparents. Both remind me of my connection to God through the Creation and through Jesus. The words of both men lodge deep in my spirit and call me to live with integrity and with purpose. By God's grace and call, I hope to be the same voice of encouragement and challenge to my own family and friends. I give Him thanks for the lives and hearts of both men and for their confirmation that who I am is just who God has intended me to be from the beginning and that who I am, is enough.