You cannot become human on your own.

Frederick Buechner, in his memoir of his early years, The Sacred Journey, writes of when he, his mother, and his younger brother moved from New York to Bermuda after his father committed suicide. They wanted to escape for a while, while their paternal grandmother thought they should “stay and face reality”.

…when it comes to putting broken lives back together–when it comes, in religious terms, to the saving of souls–the human best tends to be at odds with the holy best. To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do–to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst–is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from. You can survive on your own. You can grow strong on your own. You can even prevail on your own. But you cannot become human on your own. (46)

3 thoughts on “You cannot become human on your own.

  1. Marc

    Well, Buechner’s thoughts are great, anyway.

    I am enjoying my summer reading. However, I have yet to read any of the books I had planned!

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