by Lorna Edwards
Frederick Buechner is an American writer and theologian. His work includes fiction, autobiography, essays, sermons, and other nonfiction. Buechner’s writing has often been praised for its ability to inspire readers to see the grace in their daily lives.
Maybe it’s all utterly meaningless.
Maybe it’s all unutterably meaningful.
If you want to know which,
pay attention to
what it means to be truly human
in a world that half the time
we’re in love with
and half the time
scares the hell out of us…
The unexpected sound of your name on somebody’s lips.
The good dream.
The strange coincidence.
The moment that brings tears to your eyes.
The person who brings life to your life.
Even the smallest events hold the greatest clues.
From Lecture To A Book of The Month Club
This poem invites us to “pay attention to what it means to be truly human,” acknowledging our relationship to the world – both as loving it and being terrified by it.
And this surely resonates with our human experience on planet Earth at this time … where we witness the impact of our actions.
Buechner goes on to describe tiny moments of connection and meaning. This resonates with Stephen Batchelor’s writings on ‘the everyday sublime’:
‘The experience of the sublime exceeds our capacity for representation. The world is excessive: every blade of grass, every ray of sun, every falling leaf is excessive. None of these things can be adequately captured in concepts, images, or words. They overreach us, spilling beyond the boundaries of thought. Their sublimity brings the thinking, calculating mind to a stop, leaving one speechless, overwhelmed with either wonder or terror.’
From ‘The Everyday Sublime’, by Stephen Batchelor, published in After Mindfulness: New Perspectives on Psychology and Meditation, edited by Manu Bazzano © 2014 Palgrave Macmillan.