One of my favorite Wendell Berry quotes comes from his “Notes from an Absence and a Return,” which can be found in A Continuous Harmony. The short journal recounts Berry’s thoughts and experiences of returning to his Kentucky farm after a number of months away. On March 3, 1969, Berry writes:
In ten days we leave here to start back to Kentucky. For half a year now we’ve lived a life radically unlike the life we’ve chosen and made there at home. What I get from the experience out here is the awareness that the life we want is not merely the one we have chosen and made; it is the one we must be choosing and making. To keep it alive we must be perpetually choosing it and making its differences from among all contrary and alternative possibilities. We must accept the pain and labor of that, or we lose its satisfactions and its joy. Only by risking it, offering it freely to its possibilities, can we keep it.
Our commitment must be as fresh and new every morning as the mercies of God, it seems. Resounding truth.
(image from amazon.com)