Earlier this week, in conversation with theologian James K.A. Smith, he quoted this passage from The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming back to me:

I had just spent the darkest day of the Dreher family’s life in the house where my sister had just died, and yet I felt unburdened by grief and anxiety. Those people, Ruthie’s friends, had given that to me. All of us were in mourning, all of us worried about what the future would bring for Mike and the children. But everyone knew that they would go through it together, and they would carry each other.

Nobody had to say it; everyone could see it with their eyes and know it in their hearts. In a way all those afternoons down on the sandbar at Thompson Creek, late evenings of margaritas at Que Pasa, nights of pool parties and barn dances and Ronnie Morgan’s campfires followed by pancakes and kitchen camaraderie, followed by church on Sunday morning — these things were like a levee the people of Starhill had spent a lifetime building together. Now, facing a catastrophe that felt like it had the power to wash them away, the levee was holding.

This was Ruthie’s habitus. I’m going to be talking next week about the strengths and the weaknesses of Ruthie’s little way and her habitus, and what we can learn from it in our own lives. I’ll be at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, next Monday and Tuesday, March 24 and 25 (see here for more info), and then next Thursday March 27 at Pepperdine University in grim, gray, snowbound Malibu (more info here). I hope to see you there.

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