A World Lost

A World Lost by Wendell Berry
A Port William Novel

When the world seems to spinning hopelessly out of control, either by my own doing or by the doings of everyone else, I know it's time to read a Wendell Berry book. Whether it's a collection of his poems, a collection of his essays prophetically laying out the problems of our modern and civilized times, or, in this case, a Port William novel, he writes in a way that soothes my soul.

The Port William novels are a collection of stories from a small farming town in Kentucky. The stories cross the fields and faces and generations of this town where life moves with the rhythm of the days and seasons.

This particular story is of a boy growing through the simple life of a small town boy and into a time of grief and struggle and then into becoming the kind of man he was destined to be. I won't give any more detail than that, but read the book and be consoled by a story well told. And be comforted by these words on the final page:

"I imagine the dead waking, dazed, into a shadowless light in which they know themselves altogether for the first time. It is a light that is merciless until they can accept its mercy; by it they are once condemned and redeemed. It is Hell until it is Heaven. Seeing themselves in that light, if they are willing, they see how far they have failed the only justice of loving one another; it punishes them by their own judgment. And yet, in suffering that light's awful clarity, in seeing themselves within it, they see its forgiveness and its beauty, and are consoled. In it they are loved completely, even as they have been, and so are changed into what they could not have been but what, if they could have imagined it, they would have wished to be."

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