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Thursday, April 13, 2006

cover of The Sacred Journey

Took a few months to read this book but did finish it eventually. I think it too me so long because Buechner's work is so dense. My prefered style of reading his books is to read a few pages and then put the book down, chewing on the ideas or stories from that section. But -- his chapters are often thirty or forty pages long, which doesn't lend itself to small portions. I enjoy his thinking but just need some time so that it can actually affect me instead of just being something I can say I've read.

The sections are titled 'Once below a time,' 'Once upon a time,' and 'Beyond time.' There were certain points in Buechner's life where he realized that time was flowing differently than he had previously known. A turning point in his life was his father's suicide. Before this is his 'once below a time' and after is 'once upon a time.' His experience and interaction with time changed dramatically. Realizing there is an end to each person's time affected the way he lived. And allowed him to deal a bit more honestly with serious issues such as death and pain and suffering.

One person who is mentioned multiple times is one of his grandmothers. Grandmother Buechner. She is imperturbable. She sits in her rocking chair and though all of life's storms come against her, she is still able to rock and continue on with life. Events take place that interrupt the lives of all those around her, but Buechner sees her (at least as a child) as a grandmother who is solid and unchanging. She may be affected, but not in such a way that her life must change dramatically. Interesting about that. I am unsure whether or not it is a good thing to be unaffected. I tend to think that if one does not feel the sorrows of life, one will not feel the joys of life. But without feeling there is less pain.

Title:The Sacred Journey
Author: Frederick Buechner
Date published:1982
Genre:autobiography, philosophy
Number of pages: 112


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