In the Words of Buechner
June 13, 2011 § 2 Comments
Today I began re-reading one of my favorite all-time books: The Alphabet of Grace by Frederick Buechner. Through the eyes of narrative, novel, poetry, words, letters, and the humdrum of life, the author paints a picture of grace at work in the life of a believer. He uses the idea of one’s morning routine, from the time of waking through the early hours of labor, to provide a unique perspective on how grace works, and is worked, in and by and through us; us, the human creations that we are.
I found a paragraph today that I wanted to share, as it reminded me of what this blog is about. Ponder the following:
“You get married, a child is born or not born, in the middle of the night there is a knocking at the door, on the way home through the park you see a man feeding pigeons, all the test come in negative and the doctor gives you back your life again: incident follows incident helter-skelter leading apparently nowhere, but then once in a while there is the suggestion of purpose, meaning, direction, the suggestion of a plot, the suggestion that, however clumsily, your life is trying to tell you something, take you somewhere.
“Or random sounds: the clock’s tick-tock, voices outside the window, footsteps on the stair, a bird singing, and then just for a moment a hint of melody.” (The Alphabet of Grace, pg. 10)
It occurs to me that if we could have our way, we would want to remove the uncertainty; if life were a journey, we would memorize the directions in order to travel it better, or, at the very least, hurry up and get to where we are going without the troublesome detours. If life were a play, we would sneak a look at the script so that we could get a grip on the choreography and be able to deliver our lines flawlessly. If music, we’d peek at the score so that we would know the notes to play instead of improvising all the time.
Buechner implies here that our lives do possess a certain degree of direction and purpose, even if we are only able to catch fleeting glimpses of where we are going. However, this simple knowledge becomes a source of hope and strength. Philippians 1.6 comes to mind: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (NLT).
I heartily recommend this book to you. Though brief, one finds it to be a deep read that is best savored slowly and repeatedly.