Driving up the peninsula that is Florida is long, monotonous and in some ways difficult, especially driving alone with a cat who is miserable and a dog who is restless and a sobering sense of the irrevocableness of this particular drive. Someone had suggested I listen to an audiobook. Someone else who is a particularly incisive book critic had written an intriguing piece about John Green and The Fault In Our Stars. On Wednesday afternoon, I downloaded the audiobook and started listening on Thursday. I heard the end of the book about 30 miles away from our new new home.
I agree that it is a well written book and it was well read. There are many funny, poignant, sort of excruciating moments of insight. In the end, as one of the protagonists is dying, he asks his girlfriend and best friend to give him a preview of the eulogies they will give at his funeral. Hazel, his girlfriend says this:
I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities . A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” Green, John (2012-01-10). The Fault in Our Stars (Kindle Locations 2700-2703). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
Sherod and I got to go out to dinner with our friends Marsha and Cosby who have so graciously and patiently received us and our dogs several times as we began this move. We slept here last night as well. The drive along the beautiful road that leads to our new home was moving and in many ways thrilling and in about 2 hours, the van with our furniture will arrive and from there: oof–there will be a heck of a lot to do. I also have a bunch of stuff to do for ECF and I am excited to get to give it my undivided attention.
But when I heard this passage as I drove through the gentle hills of west-central Alabama, I was grateful because it was also a eulogy for a ministry that I willingly and ever-so-sorrowfully let go of. A little infinity. That was what I experienced in my ministry on the West Campus of the New River Regional Ministry and so this one last time, early in the morning in Selma, Alabama, I give thanks…