Sometimes, we look up from that work, pausing to catch our breath in this labor which we can never see compete and which we therefore perdure in by faith, posing love and being against death and nothingness, and through the spaces between the fingers that mop our brows and clear the dust from our eyes, we glimpse the world before this one, the tale it told when we were all very young: how creation is the utterance of its creator, how it hums and shimmers with signs of Him. The highest end of our lives is to attend to those signs, those rustlings in the trees that are intimations of his being, his love. We cannot know when or where or how they will come. We can only wait; and so it is that we live in the past, among and with the dead; without them we are lost. So we wait in the overgrown boneyard that is our home, amidst the ashes of our grandfathers’ houses. Yet they do come, though it is futile to wish for them; we can scarcely see them, they are more than we know how to desire.”
— Robert Clark in My Grandfather’s House, his luminous autobiography of faith, doubt, and family history.
Robert Clark will be teaching a fiction class at Image Journal’s Glen East Workshop in June. Although he was one of the mentors in my grad program, I never had the opportunity to study with him directly. So I would be thrilled to be able to do so, faraway as late spring may be. For now I have time to catch up on more of his work, including the novels that have been on my to-read list for too long. This week: Mr. White’s Confession.