Avetts, Buechner, and Reflection

The last few weeks have been extremely busy but also wonderful. As the semester comes to an end, it is strange to think that I only have three semesters left at college. It’s been an incredible journey so far, but I certainly know there is still so much to do.

Last Friday, my favorite band played a show in Fargo; it was glorious in every way. I’ve probably shared about my love  (obsession?) for The Avett Brothers many a time. Not only has their music helped me through the toughest moments of my life, but their genuine personhood and demeanor has captured my heart. Seth Avett has overcome alcoholism and advocates it in his songs. Scott Avett is a professional artist and full time musician; and Bob Crawford, the third member of the Avett Brothers who we love just as much as Scott and Seth, has had a daughter overcome a rare type of cancer. The band has fundraiser concerts and even art shows. They just seem like wonderful humans– and have beards and banjos, so what could be better?

I will end with a moment I had merely minutes ago that just made so much sense. Thank you, Frederick Buechner, for making me cry in Caribou this evening. It was worth every strange look:

“We know that wilderness well, you and I—all of us do—because there isn’t one that hasn’t wandered there, lost, and who will not wander there again before our time is done. Let me speak of a moment when I once wandered there myself. The wilderness was a strange city three thousand miles away from home. In a hospital in that city there was somebody I loved as much as I have ever loved anybody, and she was in danger of dying. Apparently not even death itself was as terrifying to her as life was, and for that reason she was fighting against her own healing. With part of herself she didn’t want to be well. She had lost track of what being well meant, and day after day my wife and I drove to the hospital to see her, parked the car in the parking lot, went up in the elevator. We played games with her. We rubbed her back. We read aloud. She weighed less as a young woman than she had as a child. We had known her since the day she was born, but if we had passed her in the corridor, we wouldn’t have been able to recognize her.

When the worst finally happens, or almost happens, a kind of peace comes. I had passed beyond grief, beyond terror, all but beyond hope, and it was there, in that wilderness, that for the first time in my life I caught sight of something of what it must be like to love God truly. It was only a glimpse, but it was like stumbling on fresh water in the desert, like remembering something so huge and extraordinary that my memory had been unable to contain it. Though God was nowhere to be clearly seen, nowhere to be clearly heard, I had to be near him—even in the elevator riding up to her floor, even walking down the corridor to the one door among all those doors that had her name taped on it. I loved him because there was nothing else left. I loved him because he seemed to have made himself as helpless in his might as I was in my helplessness. I loved him not so much in spite of there being nothing in it for me. For the first time in my life, there in that wilderness, I caught a glimpse of what it must be like to love God truly, for his own sake, to love him no matter what.”


Frederick Buechner; Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons; Chapter: Love (Pages 101-102)

If you ever wonder why I’m a religion and art major or why Hope in Focus will be in a hospital, this is your answer.

Happiest of Saturdays, friends.



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