November 13, 2021

When the Heart is Generous

First of all, if you live in Lafayette Parish, please go vote “yes” for the library millage. If you’re wondering why, my own reasons are in this post and this post. Don’t worry – we’ll wait.

Now that you’ve done you civic duty, I have a couple of thoughts for you on the topic of community. First from Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry:

“I have got to the age now where I can see how short a time we have to be here. And when I think about it, it can seem strange beyond telling that this particular bunch of us should be here on this little patch of ground in this little patch of time, and I can think of the other times and places I might have lived, the other kinds of man I might have been. But there is something else. There are moments when the heart is generous, and then it knows that for better or worse our lives are woven together here, one with one another and with the place and all the living things.”

I love that Berry uses “for better or worse,” borrowing language from a wedding ceremony. In Berry’s mind, our relationships to the people and place that make up our community resemble the commitments involved in marriage. When our hearts are “generous,” we recognize that there is, or at least ought to be, a mutual care between us and everyone and everything God has chosen to put in our lives each day. (I will refrain from pointing out how this could relate to public libraries.)

I also really enjoyed Susan Bigelow Reynolds’ article from Commonweal this week, “Going Gray,” also about aging and community – this time the communion of saints.

The nature and nurture of community is always buzzing in the background in my mind, but it’s come to the forefront lately. Several of my friends have been encouraging me to read Dedicated. The whole Commonweal magazine this month is focused on “Varieties of Religious Community.” And, to top it all off, my Bible reading has made its way to 1 Corinthians 12 – “many parts, one body” and the like.

I have no deep thoughts to add to any of this at the moment, but these kind of conjunctions always make me sit up and pay attention a little more. So much of the richness of faith, for me, comes from the people of the church, which makes sense, since the church is the Body of Christ. I’m grateful for all the ways I’ve been reminded of this this week.

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Posted by christina
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Christina is a writer and mother of five who usually has a book in her hands and dirt under her nails. Grab a cup of tea, and come join the fun!

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