The Necessary Work of the World: Jayber Crow Discussion Group (9) – Living Our Days
The novel's narrator and protagonist, Jayber Crow, is a seminary dropout and barber who is in his . He ended his relationship with Clydie. Coming to the end of Jayber Crow, the discussion group concluded that, and rubbing shoulders with our once-a-year friends and relations, it behooves us to. All I know is that with every reading, the end of this book makes me feel like I It traced the life story of Jayber Crow and his relationship with the people in Port.
Human need on repeat. You have work to do, a life to live. Is it even wise to let the stories of others trouble your heart?
Jayber Crow–Chapters , the finale! – Dawn's Quotes and Notes
In ChaptersJayber Crow makes the choice to let his heart be troubled by events in his community. He reaches into the past for backstory while also taking notice of the continual narrative arc of the Port William Membership.
He takes a good hard look at his own role in the community and then follows through on a decision to enter into the heartbreak of others. Troy and Mattie Chatham? The Way of Love Jayber was unsure at the outset whether the way that was opening up before him was more like a door — or a wound.
In effect, Jayber made and ended up keeping! It includes the world and time as a pregnant woman includes her child whose wrongs she will suffer and forgive…. Have you ever had an experience or insight that moved you deeply but for which the telling of it seemed to diminish it?
Someone, for instance, responded lukewarmly to something particularly wonderful you shared with them and it made you sorry you said anything?Eugene, Oregon (Manifest Destiny)
Jayber Crow is a story that changes your life, that makes you want to attend to it, that makes you want to be a better person, and that plants the seeds of appreciation and thanksgiving in you for the life you have and a determination to live it with eyes wide open, and heart as well.
I paired Jayber Crow with the Beatitudes of Jesus this morning because both are about the forming and nurturing of community life and of our lives within a community. Jayber Crow narrates the story of his life from the vantage point of his old age. Born in near the town of Port William, Kentucky, he was orphaned twice by the age of ten, first by his parents who died during an outbreak of fever epidemic and then later by his older aunt and uncle who had taken him in and afforded him the opportunity of a happy early childhood.
Jayber Crow – Living Our Days
But he runs into problems when he begins to question orthodoxy. In most of them I saw the old division of body and soul that I had known at the orphanage. The same rift ran through everything here at the college ; the only difference was that I was able to see it more clearly, and to wonder at it. Everything bad was laid on the body, and everything good was credited to the soul.
It scared me a little when I realized that I saw it the other way around. And yet these same people believed in the resurrection of the body. They had not asked the questions that I was asking and so of course they could not answer them. They told me I needed to have more faith; I needed to believe; I needed to pray; I needed to give up my questioning which was a sign of weakness of faith.
Having learned the barbering trade at the orphanage, Jayber buys the vacant shop in Port William and barbered there for thirty-two years. After vowing to be faithful to Mattie, Jayber reflects on his new sense of belonging to Port William: Before, I had yearned for company, especially the company of women, and gone seeking it.
Now I no longer went seeking, but taught myself and not always easily to make do with the company that came…. Now, finally, I really had lost all desire for change, every last twinge of the notion that I ought to get somewhere or make something of myself. I was what I was. Jayber does consider uprooting both himself and Mattie from Port William, briefly entertaining a fantasy of declaring his love for her and persuading her to run away with him.
In this way, he illustrates one of the dangers inherent in romantic love: Wisely, however, Jayber quickly realizes that leaving her family and her extended community would destroy Mattie as he loves her Though I was divided from the female society of Port William as much as before, I did not feel estranged from it as before.
I was involved, a participant. We were thus joined. I lived as I thought she did: For a while, though, I felt that I too was being unmade by grief. That grief should come and bring joy with it was not something I felt able, or even called upon, to sort out or understand.
I accepted the grief. I accepted the joy. When the community begins to lose its sons in the Second World War, he discovers the cost of that commitment as he joins his neighbors in grieving. It has its time and place forever. More time is added to it; it becomes a story within a story. In loving Mattie, affirming the environment for that love, and giving voice to that experience—the steps Williams identifies in the romantic love process—Jayber returns to religious faith.
And so, I thought, He must forebear to reveal His power and glory by presenting Himself as Himself, and must be present only in the ordinary miracle of the existence of His creatures….
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I could see no escape. We are too tightly tangled together to be able to separate ourselves from one another either by good or by evil. We are all involved in all and any good, in all and any evil…. That is why our suffering is endless. He explains, Just as a good man would not coerce the love of his wife, God does not coerce the love of his human creatures, not for Himself or for the world or for one another.
To allow that love to exist fully and freely, He must allow it not to exist at all. His love is suffering. It is our freedom and His sorrow. To love the world as much even as I could love it would be suffering also, for I would fail.