Holding Fast By Letting Go

photo of San Juan Islands by Joel DeWaard


We find by losing.
We hold fast by letting go.
We become something new by ceasing to be something old.
This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery.
I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all,
but I begin to know that I do not need to know and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing.
God knows.
That is all that matters.
Out of Nothing he creates Something.
Out of the End he creates the Beginning.
Out of selfness we grow, by his grace, toward selflessness,
and out of that final selflessness,
which is the loss of self altogether,
“eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man”
what new marvels he will bring to pass next.
All’s lost.
All’s found.
And if such words sound childish, so be it.
Out of each old self that dies
some precious essence is preserved for the new self that is born;
and with in the child-self that is part of us all,
there is perhaps nothing more precious than the fathomless capacity to trust.
~Frederick Buechner
– Originally published in A Room Called Remember



photo of San Juan Islands by Joel DeWaard


With a blue line of mountains north of the wall,
And east of the city a white curve of water,

Here you must leave me and drift away
Like a loosened water-plant hundreds of miles….
I shall think of you in a floating cloud;
So in the sunset think of me.
…We wave our hands to say good-bye,
And my horse is neighing again and again.
~Li Po “A Farewell to a Friend”


photo of San Juan Islands by Joel DeWaard

3 thoughts on “Holding Fast By Letting Go

  1. At first glance, Buechner often appears deceptively simple — but then…. the profound meaning and application of his message rumbles around in the brain for a long time and then one finally ‘gets it.’ Oh yeah, I see now.!
    The Christian faith and it’s lived discipleship is full of paradoxes. Jesus and the Cross – perhaps the greatest paradox of all….

    DeWaard’s pics are mesmerizing.


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