There's a moment in the story of John Adams, told so brilliantly in an HBO mini-series, when Adams and his son are out walking in the fields surrounding his farm, Peacefields. Just for a moment, he pulls his son close as if to impart great wisdom. He says he's seen the Queen of France outfitted in waves of diamonds, but that her beauty never struck him as anything near the equivalent of "that bush," he says, and he points his cane at little more than a weed along the path. "Your mother once said I never delighted enough in the mundane," he tells his son, "but now I find that if I look at even the smallest thing, my imagination begins to roam the Milky Way." And then, "Rejoice, evermore!" he says, and then repeats it when his son doesn't hear. "It's a phrase from St. Paul, you fool."
I don't know that I've seen anything quite so profoundly beautiful clearly defined and described on a screen.
But the fact is, it's just one unforgettable moment in an unbelievably good series. What's at the core of things is the dawn of a nation, but even more so the life of two people, a husband and wife, John and Abigail Adams, so totally in love and friendship that watching them together is itself a moral lesson a half-century long. In the final segment, their daughter dies, as does Abigail, and as does John himself, after an act of forgivenesss, renewing a long-lost friendship with his political foe, Thomas Jefferson.
The photography is bewitching, the music superb. It's simply great television, great viewing; and like all such shows, it renews one's faith in media. It's just spectacularly good. And this morning--this Sunday morning--I'm thankful for the testimony it's given me, a testimony which includes Paul's admonition: "Rejoice, evermore."