Love of the Particular

Like his gentleness, his sense of craft was also out of step with the spirit of the times.  The world wanted work done quickly and cheaply.  The world wanted shortcuts.  The world wanted him to build houses of brick so soft that they would melt from watering the yard.  He was incapable of such work, so he was not rewarded as the world knows reward.  Yet he lived well, secure in the knowledge that he never built a house with a “hog in the wall” — that is, with one course more on one side of the house than the other.

There is a rock building back in the woods outside Mena, Arkansas, that my father and mother built.  Few people will ever see that building, though it is one of the most stunning rock jobs I have ever seen.  My father and mother could not have built it otherwise, for to do so would have offended my father’s sensibility.  To lay rock well you must see each rock individually, yet in relation to what may be the next rock to be laid.  To see each rock in this way requires a humility founded of the love of the particular.  This is the humility that characterized my father’s life.  And it was perhaps nowhere more apparent than when you walked with my father through the woods.

From Stanley Hauerwas’s, Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir 

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