Monday, November 11, 2013

Quotes: Hannah Coulter

Wendell Berry in Hannah Coulter:
You could say that Port William has never been the same place two minutes together. But I think any way it has ever been it will always be. It is an immortal place. Some day there will be a new heaven and a new earth and a new Port William coming down from heaven, adorned as a bride for her husband, and whoever has known her before will know her then.
On home, on earth and in heaven:
Most people now are looking for "a better place," which means that a lot of them will end up in a worse one. I think this is what Nathan learned from his time in the army and the war. He saw a lot of places, and he came home. I think he gave up the idea that there is a better place somewhere else. There is no "better place" than this, not in this world. And it is by the place we've got, and our love for it and our keeping of it, that this world is joined to Heaven.
On work:
As I went about my work then as a young woman, and still now when I am old, Grandmam has been often close to me in my thoughts. And again I come to the difficulty of finding words. It is hard to say what it means to be at work and thinking of a person you loved and love still who did that same work before you and who taught you to do it. It is a comfort ever and always, like hearing the rhyme come when you are singing a song. 
On love:
But I knew too that he was thinking of me. My steadfast comfort for fifty years and more had been to know that I was on his mind. Whatever was happening between us, I knew I was on his mind, and that was where I wanted to be.
On love and suffering:
You can't give yourself over to love for somebody without giving yourself over to suffering. You can't give yourself to love for a soldier without giving yourself to his suffering in war. It is this body of our suffering that Christ was born into, to suffer it Himself and to fill it with light, so that beyond the suffering we can imagine Easter morning and the peace of God on little earthly homelands such as Port William and the farming villages of Okinawa.
But Christ's living unto death in this body of our suffering did not end the suffering. He asked us to end it, but we have not ended it. We suffer the old suffering over and over again. Eventually, in loving, you see that you have given yourself over to the knowledge of suffering in a state of war that is always going on. 

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