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Posts Tagged ‘Buechner’

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.

―Frederick Buechner

Lindsey tweeted this quote the other day, and I’ve been thinking about the deep truth of it, the “both-and” nature of our lives, where joy and grief are the only guarantees. We don’t get to choose the timing of either, the ways in which they will come, or the ratio of joy to pain. We only know we will encounter deep darkness, dazzling light, and many ordinary days in between. The challenge, as we walk through the glory and the heartache, is this: Don’t be afraid.

graffiti heart boots public garden

This year has been full of beautiful things: the births of my nephew and niece, an idyllic week at the Glen Workshop, trips to Maine and Texas, to New York and D.C., to see people I love. It has also held terrible things: the loss of my grandmother and my cousin, missing faraway loved ones, knowing many people who are struggling against cancer or depression or other ills.

On a more mundane level, each day holds joys and frustrations: lunchtime walks in the park and crowded subway trains, books I treasure and books I toss aside in frustration (fewer of those, thank goodness). It is hard at times not to grow weary or depressed, to remain brave and open, not to be afraid.

I couldn’t come up with a traditional “gratitude” post this year: a list of blessings seemed too facile, oversimplified. Instead I am reading and rereading the W.S. Merwin poem I posted last year, its final lines echoing in my head: “we are saying thank you and waving / dark though it is.”

As I gather tomorrow with my husband and our friends around a table, I will carry Merwin’s and Buechner’s words in my heart. I will give thanks for the beauty, and give thanks for having made it through the struggles. And I will do my best not to be afraid.

If you’re celebrating, I wish you a happy (and delicious) Thanksgiving.

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