Lost & Found

Sometimes a book keeps coming back. You read it once, love it, pass it on or set it aside. Years later, it resurfaces on your friend's kitchen counter or in the doctor's office. You are flushed with memory and love. You invite it in, hope that it holds the same allure.

Fifteen years ago, in a season of serious illness, crushing love and profound sadness, I found solace in a beautiful book passage. I made copies, pasted the words in my journal and read them again and again. I wrapped myself in the comfort of clarity, if even for just moments at a time.

Last week, I loaded up for winter reading. As daylight wanes my reading time lengthens. At the used bookstore in town (Mari's Books, a closet-size shop packed with unexpected gems) I filled my arms with new material. Just before leaving, I spotted the book that made me feel less alone so many years ago. I embraced the book like an old friend, dashed home, pawed through pages and found my favorite passage once again.


You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.

They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go next.

Frederick Buechner, from Listening to Your Life