And so the text finishes with a version of “and they lived happily ever after.”
Well, when it has really finished, then that will, please God, be the ending. But it has not finished yet.
I am unable at this time to give detail to the years after Christmas Eve, 1995. There are several reasons for this, but the greatest is that I have not got the right to tell other people’s stories, and particularly not when the telling might add unnecessarily to what may already be a heavy burden.
I will only say, about the last six-plus years, that they have been the most joy-filled years of my life, containing delights and pleasures (though not of the sort we often associate with those words) that I never knew could exist, bringing peace and happiness that I can only allude to but cannot describe; and that those same years have been the time of greater suffering for me and for Susan than either of us would once have been willing or able to contemplate. This part of the story is one I would not have missed for anything – and not least because I fully expect the outcome of those pains and griefs to be the blessed fruit which can only be produced with the plentiful watering of tears that comes with suffering.
And Newman. John Henry Newman is now officially ‘Venerable.’ This means, I think, that the Church approves recourse to his life and work as a model for Christians, and that his intercessions may be requested in private prayer. I have had much recourse to Newman’s life and work. I do not know how it is, but I have come to love him as though I had known him. I read regularly in his work. He has meant a great deal to me; I do not think this is the end of that story, either.