Author Marilynne Robinson's character, Rev. John Ames, is seventy-seven years old and aware that he has only a few months to live. The book is a letter addressed to his young son. It is part love letter, part autobiography, part historical document. Ames's goal is to make an account of himself to his child; an apology for leaving his son without financial resources; and an explanation to someone of the significance of things before he dies, so the significance doesn't die with him.
Perhaps most important, Ames articulates observations about life that he desperately wants to share with his son. Ames regrets that he won't be there to express these things to his son in person as the years unfold. He also knows that people can go entire lifetimes without talking about what is most important to them with those who are most important to them.
This study assumes participants have read the book. It lifts up seven "pearls of wisdom" raised by Rev. John Ames throughout the book and explores them. Participants will discuss and respond to these issues and reflect on how they might apply the wisdom of the book to their own lives.