“The Search Withholds the Joy From What Is Found” – Wendell Berry


I had a friend stop me in my mental tracks the other day and say these words to me. I swear I was ready to run out the door and have it tattooed on my forehead immediately. The nest of the conversation that held these words was the tangled struggle many of us have as we try to “figure things out”, untie the many knots of the universe, and ourselves.

“Wow! I love and admire you so much, but you seem to spend so much of your time wrestling with so many things” was the gist of what my friend said to me. And then came Wendell Berry’s wise words from his lips: “the search withholds the joy from what is found.”

What have I already found? Can I make a list? Can I enjoy each ribbon of knowledge or experience without tangling them all up into a knotty stew? Can I slow down and enjoy some gratitude for the things I already know? The things I already feel? The things I’ve already experienced?

The answer is, “yes I can”. And, I can continue to search, but may it not take up so much of my life, so much of my time that it “withholds the joy from what is found”.