Friday, December 10, 2010
Here are some gems from Gilead, Marilynne Robinson's staggeringly beautiful book which I'm reading at the moment. This is the voice of the fictional Reverend John Ames, who is writing a letter to his son as he's dying. It's not so much a story as a meditation on life.
"Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life. All it needs from you is that you take care not to trample on it."
"For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn't writing prayers, as I am often enough. You feel that you are with someone."
"When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them, the "I" whose predicate can be "love" or "fear" or "want", and whose object can be "someone" or "nothing" and it won't really matter because the loveliness is just in that presence, shaped around "I" like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else. But quick and avid and resourcesful. To see this aspect of life is a privilege of the ministry which is seldom mentioned."
"Now I am about to leave this world, I realise there is nothing more astonishing than a human face. Boughton and I have talked about that, too. It has something to do with incarnation. You feel your obligation to a child when you have seen it and held it. Any human face is a claim on you, because you can't help but understand the singularity of it, the courage and loneliness of it. But this is truest of the face of an infant. I consider that to be one kind of vision, as mystical as any. Boughton agrees."