I haven’t written a blog entry in a while. Partly because I’m not sure what constitutes an interesting blog entry. I lead a pretty ordinary life. And then I have been out of town. I spent some time in California with a friend from seminary. We both had projects to finish, so it was a stretch of reading, hiking, research, road trips, writing, swimming and editing, with ice cream for dessert. It was an ideal escape for me. But I’m home now, my cat has forgiven me for leaving, and I want to add a few words for any loyal person still reading this blog.
I myself am reading News of the World by Paulette Jiles, a novel I knew nothing about but had seen advertised in the New York Times Review of Books. It’s about an elderly man who travels through Texas in 1870, earning a living by reading aloud from newspapers. His audiences pay a dime to listen. I’m liking the book a lot and this morning -- in a quiet moment, reading in my shady backyard -- I ran across this line. (The book is written in first person, the old man’s voice. He’s remembering his younger days when he worked as a courier.)
“Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.”