In Wendell Berry’s novel Jayber Crow, the main character works to come to terms with who he is. At midlife, after going through a crisis, he says, “Now, finally, I really had lost all desire for change, every last twinge of the notion that I ought to get somewhere or make something of myself. I was what I was. ‘I will stand like a tree,’ I thought, ‘and be in myself as I am.’”
In one of his poems Berry speaks of “the blessed conviviality” of creation, “For all His creatures were His pleasures / And their whole pleasure was to be / What He made them; they sought no gain / Or growth beyond their proper measures, / Nor longed for change or novelty. / The only new thing could be pain.”
Kyle Childress is pastor of Austin Heights Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, and author, with Rodney Wallace Kennedy, of Will Campbell, Preacher Man: Essays in the Spirit of a Divine Provocateur (Cascade).