In some ways this has been a good year. I read lots of books. Some of them were good, even great. I wrote some small things and got them published. I kept up this blog, which is a writing exercise in itself, keeping myself from going rusty.

In other ways, this has been a bad year. I feel some sympathies with the two main characters in Marilynne Robinson’s Home (2008)A prodigal son (Jack) returns home and bonds with his sister (Glory) who also returned home after a failed marriage. They are taking care of their dying father. In the scene I’m about to quote, Jack has just attempted to go to church and backed out at the last minute. He came home to find Glory giving Papa a haircut, and so Jack asks for one, too.

“I’m going to trim around your ears. I’ve got to get it even.”

He crossed his ankles and folded his hands and sat there obediently while she snipped at one side and then the other. She tipped up his face again to judge the effect. There were tears on his cheeks. She took a corner of the towel and patted them away, and he smiled at her.

“Exasperation,” he said. “I’m so tired of myself.”

Me, too. But what else is there to do, but be myself all day, everyday? I can be polite and distant like Jack, cautious to let anyone be involved with my tiresome self. I can be good and careful and quiet like Glory, keeping my true story tucked away, quietly reading my Bible in moments of peace, crying a lot. This book packs a lot of pent-up emotion.

So here’s a pent-up hurrah for the new year. May it be good for God, and may God give us the grace to make it through each day.


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