I’m dedicating this dark and quiet week before the New Year begins to posting writing that has inspired me this year. To start, this meditation by Frederick Buechner who was a writer before he became an ordained Presbyterian pastor.
In addition to being an author and pastor, he has taught both religion and writing at a number of places including Exeter, a boarding school in New Hampshire. One of his students was John Irving, who included a quote of Frederick Buechner in A Prayer for Owen Meany. His meditations often strike me often as a writing lesson as much as spiritual guidance.
Silence of the Holy Place
What deadens us most to God’s presence within us, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are continuously engaged in with ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort, as the huge monk in cloth of gold put it, than being able from time to time to stop that chatter including the chatter of spoken prayer. If we choose to seek the silence of the holy place, or to open ourselves to its seeking, I think there is no surer way than by keeping silent.
God knows I am no good at it, but I keep trying, and once or twice I have been lucky, graced. I have been conscious but not conscious of anything, not even of myself. I have been surrounded by the whiteness of snow. I have heard a stillness that encloses all sounds stilled the way whiteness encloses all colors stilled, the way wordlessness encloses all words stilled. I have sensed the presence of a presence. I have felt a promise promised.
I like to believe that once or twice, at times like those, I have bumbled my way into at least the outermost suburbs of the Truth that can never be told but only come upon, that can never be proved by only lived for and loved.Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner
(featured photo from Pexels)