The Danish writer Isak Dinesen* once suggested that there are three occasions for happiness in human life:
when there is an excess of energy,
during the cessation of pain; and
when we posses the absolute certainty that we are doing the will of God.
The first of these belongs mostly to youth, and the second is, by definition, brief. The third, is open to anyone at any and all times. To posses the absolute certainty that one is doing the will of God requires coming into relationship with the slender threads.
I’m having a hard time shutting up tonight as I write in late evening in York, UK. I’m sad and happy at the passing of Robert Farrar Capon. I’m sad because the world is a little darker for his passing and I’m happy because he now experiences the reality that is God moving beyond his intuitions of the mystery that moved multitudes to smile and weep as they smiled at the beauty of his light touch of the glory to be reveled. One of his great works was a cookbook, a theological reflection. In wonderful work of graceful whimsy is a toast that is a blessing as the great toasts always are. But the man can speak for himself.
“I wish you well. May your table be graced with lovely women and good men. May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfactions of maturity. May your men wear their weight with pride, secure in the knowledge that they have at last become considerable. May they rejoice that they will never again be taken for callow, black-haired boys. And your women? Ah! Women are like cheese strudels. When first baked, they are crisp and fresh on the outside, but the filling is unsettled and indigestible; in age, the crust may not be so lovely, but the filling comes at last into its own. May you relish them indeed. May we all sit long enough for reserve to give way to ribaldry and for gallantry to grow upon us. May there be singing at our table before the night is done, and old, broad jokes to fling at the stars and tell them we are men.
We are great, my friend; we shall not be saved for trampling that greatness under foot … Come then; leap upon these mountains, skip upon these hills and heights of earth. The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it. The longest Session of all is no discontinuation of these sessions here, but a lifting of them all by priestly love. It is a place for men, not ghosts—for the risen gorgeousness of the New Earth and for the glorious earthiness of the True Jerusalem.
Eat well then. Between our love and His Priesthoood, He makes all things new. Our Last Home will be home indeed.”