Saturday, March 5, 2011

"The fundamental fact of a marriage is that you've given your word"

I've blogged about Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter and its insights into marriage and family before. It was a wonderful surprise to find an interview online with Mr. Berry that includes his thoughts on the subject.

Just a taste:

Inside Catholic: How do you address the restlessness and inability of many people to commit themselves to a place, a marriage, a community; they feel compelled to stay on the move?

Wendell Berry: Gary Snyder said the right thing: Stop somewhere, just stop. Finally, this thing we are calling mobility keeps people from learning their lessons. They keep moving away from the problems they've caused. Their idea is that you can completely mess up somewhere and then go somewhere else, or you can completely succeed somewhere and go somewhere else. In either case you don't know what the effects are. Sometimes people cause worse effects by their success than they do by their failure. To go back to the metaphor of marriage. What marriage does is say to you to stay and find out. It doesn't say what you are going to find out. When you think this is it, we are at a complete dead end here, the marriage says to you: Wait, stay, and find out. Always you find out more. The thing is too great to be belittled by any decision that you can make about it. This is the same for your relation to the community or anything else. Wallace Stegner said that we Americans divide into two groups, boomers and stickers. The boomers are always thinking that something is better somewhere else, that whatever they have or whatever they are is no good.
Read the rest here.

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