These sentences from Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow remain in my mind.
The context is of life-long farmer whose son-in-law who is commencing life on the farm.
As the story unfolds the different perspectives of an older and newer cultural perspective give rise to a struggle that will unfold over a couple of decades. But as time unfolds the younger perspective will prevail.
It reminds me of many other contexts, including my own where I’ve seen pastoral ministry transition from the care of a company of people transition to seeing a local congregation as means to serve the pastor’s productive planning.
…through all the changes so far, the farm had endured. Its cycles of cropping and grazing, thought and work, were articulations of its wish to cohere and to last. The farm, so to speak, desired all of its lives to flourish.
Athey [the father-in-law] was not exactly, or not only, what is called a “landowner.” He was the farm’s farmer, but also its creature and belonging. He lived its life, and it lived his; he knew that, of the two lives, his was meant to be the smaller and shorter.
Of all this Troy [the son-in-law] had no idea, not a suspicion. He thought the farm existed to serve and enlarge him.
Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry, Counterpoint, 2000, pg. 182