Buechner: Where Our Best Dreams Come From

Sunlight Leaves. Photo by Whaitschnoik

Somebody appears on your front stoop speaking your name, say, and you go down to open the door to see what’s up. Sometimes while it’s still raining, the sun comes out from behind the clouds, and suddenly, arching against the gray sky, there is a rainbow, which people stop doing whatever they’re doing to look at. They lay down their fishing nets, their tax forms, their bridge hands, their golf clubs, their newspapers to gaze at the sky because what is happening up there is so marvelous they can’t help themselves. Something like that, I think, is the way those twelve men Matthew names were called to become a church, plus Mary, Martha, Joanna, and all the other women and men who one way or another became part of it too. One way or another Christ called them. That’s how it happened. They saw the marvel of him arch across the grayness of things — the grayness of their own lives, perhaps, of life itself. They heard his voice calling their names. And they went.

They seem to have gone right on working at pretty much whatever they’d been working at before, which means that he didn’t so much call them out of their ordinary lives as he called them out of believing that ordinary life is ordinary. He called them to see that no matter how ordinary it may seem to us as we live it, life is extraordinary. “The Kingdom of God is at hand” is the way he put it to them, and the way he told them to put it to others. Life even at its most monotonous and backbreaking and heart-numbing has the Kingdom buried in it the way a field has treasures buried in it, he said. The Kingdom of God is as close to us as some precious keepsake we’ve been looking for for years, which is lying just in the next room under the rug all but crying out to us to come find it. If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.

• from Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons
by Frederick Buechner

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Photo by Whaitschnoik at Flickr. Creative Commons License

7 thoughts on “Buechner: Where Our Best Dreams Come From

  1. You really can’t go wrong reading Buechner; every one of his books that I’ve read is a keeper. I highly recommend his book Peculiar Treasures as well. He always has a way of reminding me about how the ordinary really isn’t; it’s all part of a kingdom and of a story much bigger than ourselves or what we usually are able to apprehend.

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  2. –> “We have yet to explain the bad stuff to a level of general acceptance…”

    I think in a sense that’s the “curse” of being a believer. People who don’t believe in God don’t have wrestle with any sort of faith in God regarding the “why”-s. We believers, though, can’t ignore it. Is God good? Why does evil exist? Etc.

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  3. ” We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. ”

    yes, THIS!

    I discovered this after the sudden loss of a dear family member………. an awareness of being sustained and nurtured in the midst of crushing grief . . . . I had no idea before that time that this sense of being ‘cared for’ could be so strong but maybe because I was so wounded, I was open to sensing the blessing . . . . I had no idea and I am so very grateful

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  4. It is in Grace that we live and move and have our being. I don’t remember who it was but someone compared it to an ocean in which we are swimming. We take immediate note of life’s tragedies, hardships and terrible accidents as one would expect but sometimes we little notice the near misses and the fortuitous ‘coincidences’ that glide us through virtually all of our lives. We have yet to explain the bad stuff to a level of general acceptance but be that as it may, we are really missing the glory, mystery and enchantment of the good stuff if we don’t take equal note of it and recognize it as the very water in which we are swimming. He does make straight our path, in circumstantial and tangible realities, because we trust in him. Real stuff happens all the time that I think we generally fail to take note of and that is nothing more than us failing to take note and give thanks. Life is enchanted when we look for it. We’re immersed in it.

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