I saw this guy speak this weekend and can I just tell you that I love him?
He's an eclectic mix of passions--farming, preservation, family, and the Creator--and he writes everything from tell-it-like-he-sees-it nonfiction essays like this to a fiction series including this, which had me in tears a few times (shocker, I know).
Plus, he is completely charming (I say "charming" instead of "cute" because I was told by SOMEONE that to use the word "cute" when describing a man of such character is demeaning and...how did he put it..."strips him of his dignity." What-EVER Adam...). But I mean, his WIFE types his manuscripts on a TYPEWRITER for crying out loud (which he explains in that article I mentioned). So in my romantic head I swoon and say CUTE CUTE CUTE!!!
Hearing Wendell Berry speak was a true joy. He commands respect and is somehow able to maintain absolute dignity even when the power goes out. In fact, the crowd begged him to continue his presentation even through the lunch break. And not just because of his CHARMING Southern drawl.
What stuck with me was his message about place.
He spoke about the duty of being proud of where you are from. And wanting--above all else--to be in that place, because it is the place you call home. A place you will forever love. A place, that to you, is better than any other place.
Further, he said it was also our duty to recognize that everyone else has their own place that they call home. A place that they love and think is better than any other place. And that their place is not ours. And that we should be able to have our pride without infringing on their right to have theirs.
But he also pointed out that each place does have its own distinct language. And that while language is on one hand universal (learning English is learning English), there are certain nuances that only those from our place can understand.
And I thought about that this weekend as I watched my family sitting around the living room playing a lively game of Catch Phrase. I felt my own comfort and joy in that place--speaking that language of "Oh, my stars!" and "My dogs are barkin!" and other quirky words of home--and I realized that my husband (though he respects and loves my family) will not ever quite speak that language like I do...nor will I speak his.
And it made me sad for awhile, to be honest. Because isn't that so unfair? How can two people from two places ever have hope of speaking the same language?! Do we just choose one? Or what?
But I was completely and totally overlooking the most glaring reality--that we are in our own place. Creating our own language. That we will one day teach to our family.
And it is nice to just take a deep breath and rest in that truth.