Good Company

Last week was Grove City’s Christian Writers Conference on George Herbert. My dad came and spoke and there was a poetry liturgy and I gave a paper and there was a banquet and my brother George sequestered himself and his laptop in a thousand different corners. It was a wonderful time and I am grateful to have had it. There were lots of careful words on truth and beauty, and one cannot have that much goodness poured into ones head without it getting stuck there.

But I don’t know if I’m going to get anything worthwhile out onto the page tonight. We have our windows open, because the air is warm and soft at last. I just got back from the last “Conversation on the Virtues” I’ll be going to with my Classical Ed class. This semester with them has been a tiring, tense, funny, and sweet adventure. I think the world of them, as evidenced by the gratuitous number of hours Megan and I spent making them sugar cookies last week. I’m looking forward to a long summer and a fall semester with a fiction writing independent study, but I will miss these people.

I have plenty of friends who are very dear to me, but I am usually best one-on-one. Yet, these kids (or nearly-men-and-women, if you will) are my favorite when we are together, when we are not myself and himself and herself and yourself, but ourselves, sighing and insinuating and reading and asking and contradicting. Actually, at the risk of sounding like I’ve learned precisely what I was supposed to, I’d say we’re learning the awe of neighborliness. I do not know which of us began Samaritans, and which began Jews (or perhaps I do, but I’ll never tell), but I know I have been humbled by unexpected friendships. As Lewis says in The Four Loves, “Who could have deserved it?” Not I.

But this marvelous spread of good company is what has been offered me, so as my friend George Herbert and more importantly, my God, would require, I will not delay, but “sit and eat.”

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