There are many reasons I love Wendell Berry’s writings.
He is committed to living gently among people he loves and caring for the earth that sustains our lives even if we won’t admit it.
He is unafraid to speak uncomfortable truth.
But mostly I love his poetry.
I could share dozens of pieces that have touched my heart and made me cry but today, in honor of mamas everywhere, I choose this one.
Read it slowly. Savor it like fine wine or good chocolate.
Let it sink in where it can do you good.
To My Mother
by Wendell Berry
I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.
So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,
prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,
and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it
already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,
where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.
I believe that a child’s first taste of gospel freedom is found in a mother’s unconditional love.
“causing me to smile now, looking back, to see how paltry was my worst, compared to your forgiveness of it….”