Today I finished the slim, powerful little volume "Lament for a Son." Somehow it took me a long time to read, but I was also savoring it, re-reading most sentences, writing notes on almost every vignette. Nicholas Wolsterstorff included this quote towards the end of the book:
"Mortification--literally, 'making death'--is what life is all about, a slow discovery of the mortality of all that is created so that we can appreciate its beauty without clinging to it as of it were a lasting possession. Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death, as a school in the art of dying. I do not mean this in a morbid way. On the contrary, when we see life constantly revitalized by death, we can enjoy it for what it is: a free gift. The pictures, letters, and books of the past reveal life to us as a constant saying of farewell to beautiful places, good people, and wonderful experience.... All these times have passed by like friendly visitors, leaving [us] with dear memories but also with sad recognition of the shortness of life. In every arrival there is a leavetaking; in each one's growing up there is a growing old; in every smile there is a tear; and in every success there is a loss. All living is dying and all celebration is mortification too."
"A Letter of Consolation"
We're on our way back from a lovely week near Naples, where Elliott tended to a couple of military working dogs. The trip away and just with family--Elliott, Lena, and Elliott's sister Jess, who is visiting this month--was refreshing and filled with laughter. Of course there was some tension because, as always with our travels, we didn't plan anything until the eleventh hour. Every day. Hmm.
I'll be back tomorrow with some pretty photos!