“If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line - starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King's Highway past the appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circling or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led - make of that what you will.”
~ Wendell Berry
Painting by Cary Henrie, "Flight Distance"
Cary Henrie is another artist whose work we were fortunate enough to be able to represent at the gallery in Santa Fe. To see more of his work: http://www.caryhenrie.com
The farther I go the more I feel an ignorant pilgrim.ReplyDelete
I love being at a place in life where I can say, 'I don't know.' Yet, at times, we do know, don't we, on some other level? I'm suspicious of those who believe they have all the answers. Usually their minds are locked tight.Delete
Good Morning, Linda!
All the answers? Shoot, I don't even have all the questions!ReplyDelete
Might that all us "ignorant pilgrims" find our way to the same place at the end. The place we're led to together, apart.ReplyDelete
I am so enjoying making this journey with you, t.Delete
Wendell Berry's writing is always of interest to me. This one is such a change of mood for him. thanks -- barbaraReplyDelete
Besides his thoughts on community and an agrarian lifestyle, he has quite a few messages on the more spiritual aspects of life. He is a Baptist and I grew up in that church, so I understand his language, and in the end it's only language. We are all, in so many ways, speaking of the same ideas.Delete
Dear Teresa, like "Fearguth" I don't know so many of the questions. And it seems to me now--after living long years in the valleys and ever so often the mountaintops--that the questions are the truly important stepping stones to contentment and joy. Peace.ReplyDelete
I'm working on developing a quiet sense of listening and just letting the ideas float through and try to hear what it is the Universe has to share.... :)Delete
i agree that we may be lead for some purpose, but feel our own thoughts help develop that path. I enjoy always hearing someones life stories, and often need to travel that path to better understand what directed them this way.I always return to my own wayward trail and continue doing what appeals to me each day.ReplyDelete
Perhaps a bit of co-creation? Just a thought....Delete
This is a terrific quote from Wendell Berry and one that I relate to personally. I especially relate to Berry's visceral feeling that he has be led along the way. Quite apart from specific religious inferences that some may draw from this, I, too, have been unable to escape the feeling that my life has purpose and that it is unfolding as it should, even when it feels like an exercise in chaos.ReplyDelete
Hi George, Yes, it is the idea of being led with a sense of purpose that spoke most directly to me in this quote. I have no doubt that life is unfolding exactly as it should. It's a wonderful time to be awake and aware.Delete
"Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there."I seem to feel this more and more as I grow older.ReplyDelete
This is a wonderful Berry quote, Teresa, and the painting fits it so well.
Life continues to surprise me and it's quite wonder-full. Life works best when I stop outlining and allow it to unfold.Delete
Thanks, Penny. I'm glad you like it, too.
Would that we were born older and wiser......ReplyDelete
it would be interesting to have a re-do, with what I know now, or what I think I know.... :)Delete
Hmmm. Deep. Oh my. Wow. Such wise reflective words.ReplyDelete
Layers of thought here. Thanks for commenting, Sharon.Delete
Ah, that's the trick! Living your life in a straight line! No, my path was been sinuous like a meandering stream. No complaints though, I have really enjoyed the journey even though it could have been easier. Easy is for those who don't know the joy of hardship.ReplyDelete
Remember those Family Circus cartoons, with circuitous routes? That's been my life. :)Delete
"The joy of hardship." I like that. It is the difficult times that we often remember most fondly.