Once he told us at supper, “This afternoon I met the Lord over by the river, and we fell to talking, you know, and He made a suggestion I thought was interesting. He said, ‘John, why don’t you just go home and be old?’ But I had to tell him I wasn’t sure I was up to the travelling.”

“Papa,” my mother said, “you are home. He probably just meant you should ease up on yourself a little.”

“Well,” the old man said, “well . . . ,” and sank back into his radiance, thinking whatever it was he thought.

— Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

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