“We are never more in touch with life than when life is painful”

These words of strength are echoed in Fred’s writings over and over. He says, in another letter in May of 1981. “In the midst of all the darkness, I was more aware than I think I’ve ever been before of the presence and grace and mystery of God somewhere at the heart of it.” In a sermon on the stewardship of pain published in his compilation book Secrets in the Dark, he says, “We are never more in touch with life than when life is painful, never more in touch with hope than we are then, if only the hope of another human presence to be with us and for us.” The gift of Fred Buechner is that he words for us over and over again, even in the midst of his own pain, the comfort and faith in a God who is with us. Fred freely gives us himself, and therefore gives us an image of God. Or maybe it is the other way around – he gives us his God and therefore himself. 

From “Deep Calls Unto Deep: Reflections on the intersecting lives and writings of Fred Buechner, Tony Abbott, and Louis Patrick”