“If you love somebody enough, and long enough, finally you must see yourself. What I saw was a barber and grave digger and church janitor making half a living, a bachelor, a man about town, a friendly fellow. And this was perhaps acceptable, perhaps even creditable in its way, but to my newly chastened sight I was nobody’s husband.

I realized that my desire was far simpler than its circumstances (as maybe desire always is), and that it proposed things practical and final, not of visions of this world, and that was where my vision failed. It was as though I had been covered all over for a moment by a beautiful shawl and a cat had caught a raveling and in another moment pulled it all away.

But this was not the end of my love for Mattie Chatham. After the figments of presumption and delusion had all fallen away and I again saw myself as I was and my circumstances as they were, I loved her more, and more clearly, than I did before. I became able to imagine her as she was and not as the subject of a dream. In my thoughts of her, she stood apart from me. I seemed to see her whole. When I realized the futility and absurdity of my old self-begotten desire, that was when the arrow struck. It entered my heart, and I could not pull it out. The hopelessness of my love became the sign of its permanence.

So it is that the life force may take possession of a man—so that in the end he may be possessed by something greater, no longer at all belonging to himself.”

– from Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry


~ by justinhong on March 20, 2012.

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