Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wendell Berry: ‘Held…Though He Does Not Hold’

Preacher, H. Stephen Shoemaker shares this story:

Andy Catlett, a character in a Wendell Berry novel, has lost his right hand in a farm accident. This terrible loss has disoriented him. His right hand had been a way he connected to the world, held on to the world and now it was gone.

“When he lost his hand he lost his hold.”

He felt like a man falling down a steep cliff unable to catch hold of anything. And he heard these words:

He is held, though he does not hold....
Though he does not hold, he is
held. He is grieving, and he is
full of joy.

Shoemaker adds: And with this scrap of faith we little-faith people go on, in good times and bad, trusting the One sometimes near, sometimes far, who says “Lo, I am with you always,” through storm and through calm, trusting the One who reaches out his hand and hauls us out of the deep.

Sources: H. Stephen Shoemaker, ‘Walking on Water’, Myers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte, 4 May 2008.

Wendell Berry, “Remembering,” Three Short Novels (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 2008), pp. 142, 167.

Image: Wendell Berry.