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Frederick Buechner

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."

"Everybody prays whether [you think] of it as praying or not. The odd silence you fall into when something very beautiful is happening or something very good or very bad. The ah-h-h-h! that sometimes floats up out of you as out of a Fourth of July crowd when the sky-rocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else s pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else's joy. Whatever words or sounds you use for sighing with over your own life. These are all prayers in their way. These are all spoken not just to yourself but..."

Frederick Buechner quotes (American Author, b.1926)


"Where our deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet, we hear a further call." -- Frederick Buechner

PBS interview including the following explanation of the above line. Q: You wrote a famous line about one's own deep gladness and the world's deep need. What is your advice to a young person trying to find out what to do in life, trying to figure out a vocation?

A: I never got my own quotation quite straight. There was a little piece I once read on vocation or all these "voices" -- "vocare," to call, "vocation," calling you to be this or to be that. Which one do you answer? I said the vocation for you is the one in which your deep gladness and the world's deep need meet. When you are doing what you are happiest doing, it must also be something that not only makes you happy but that the world needs to have done. In other words, if what makes you happy is going out and living it up and spending all your money on wine, women, and song, the world doesn't need that. But on the other hand, if you give your life to good works -- you go and work in a leper colony and it doesn't make you happy -- the chances are you're not doing it very well. Those for whom you were doing it will recognize that this is not an act of love. It's a good work and they are the object of it. Just the other day somebody my age in some sort of a crisis said, "I don't feel I'm being what I ought to be." And I said, "What makes you happiest? That's the clue." I struck him dumb. He said, "I never thought that. What makes me happy?" I think he was thinking, what makes me useful? What makes me religious? No, no, no. What makes you, in the deepest sense of the word, happy? That's what you should be doing, if the other part is also met -- if it is something the world needs.

Frederick Buechner, American Author, b.1926.

"When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way. If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone. "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well. " BJRuhe

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."

"The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you."

"Everybody prays whether [you think] of it as praying or not. The odd silence you fall into when something very beautiful is happening or something very good or very bad. The ah-h-h-h! that sometimes floats up out of you as out of a Fourth of July crowd when the sky-rocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else's pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else's joy. Whatever words or sounds you use for sighing with over your own life. These are all prayers in their way. These are all spoken not just to yourself but"

"Pay mind to your own life, your own health, and wholeness. A bleeding heart is of no help to anyone if it bleeds to death."

"Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst"

"If it seems a childish thing to do, do it in remembrance that you are a child."

"Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage."

"It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle."

"In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints."

You can't be too careful what you tell a child because you never know what he'll take hold of and spend the rest of his life remembering you by."

"In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all." kims4086

"Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality--not as we expect it to be but as it is--is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love."

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace." eathian

"[A true atheist is one who is willing to face the full consequences of what it means to say there is no God. Given some of what we treat as religion, this is a significant commitment. The bottom line is that] ... many an atheist is a believer without knowing it. You can sincerely believe there is no God and live as though there is. You can sincerely believe there is a God and live as though there isn't. So it goes ... ... Wishful Thinking."

"Laugh till you weep. Weep till there's nothing left but to laugh at your weeping. In the end it's all one." smeth70

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