In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word Buechner as in… Frederick Buechner.

On Tuesday morning, August 16, I opened the email I knew would one day arrive but would have done all I could to postpone it as long as possible. This is the email I received:

“It is with great sadness—but greater appreciation for his long and exceptionally well-lived and listened-to life—that I write to share the news of the passing of my father-in-law, Reverend Frederick Buechner. He died peacefully in Rupert, Vermont. on August 15, 2022, at the age of 96.

“Frederick was a life giver to countless many around the world. He told the stories of us all: through overwhelming love, unbearable pain, great laughter, artistry, humility, and awe. His wonder at the miracle of grace around him never left him, and his writing, preaching, and presence will be with us forever.

“Throughout his life, Frederick enjoyed the support of an uncommonly devoted readership. His readership nourished him and helped inspire him to write nearly 40 books now read in over two dozen languages world-wide. On his family’s behalf, I wish to extend our most heartfelt gratitude.”

Absorbing the news, sitting in front of my collection of Buechner’s works, I was keenly aware of my own heart full of sadness mingled with a deep appreciation for his life. Immersed in his words, I would often laugh out loud one moment while weeping into my pillow the next.

It is impossible to describe in 350 words how Frederick Buechner has influenced my life.

But three passages point in that direction:

“Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest needs.”

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”


Thanks be to God for Carl Frederick Buechner, American writer, novelist, poet, theologian, and friend.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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