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Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,551 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Daily meditations taken from the works of an acclaimed novelist, essayist, and preacher who has articulated what he sees with a freshness and clarity and energy that hails our stultified imaginations.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 8th 1992 by HarperOne
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Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book has been my companion for 15+ years. One of my favorite entries is August 3, entitled "Wine".

I quote it here:
Unfermented grape juice is a bland and pleasant drink, especially on a warm afternoon mixed half-and-half with ginger ale. It is a ghastly symbol of the life blood of Jesus Christ, especially when it is served in antiseptic, thimble-sized glasses.

Wine is booze, which means it is dangerous and drunk-making. It makes the timid brave and the reserved am
James Klagge
This is the 6th year I have done a daily-meditation book, and this one was excellent. Buechner is a skeptic who grew Christian against all of his own expectations. He is a writer by trade who writes novels as a Christian, but not with an ax to grind. He has also written a lot of spiritual-theological non-fiction, and several memoirs. I have not read a lot by him, but I've really liked everything I've read.
This set of readings is a selection from his many writings, both fiction and non-fiction. T
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! It was the first "daily devotional" book that I have stayed with and not lost interest in. Taken from all of his writings, this book was a pleasure to open each day and find something thoughtful and meaningful on each page - and many of those pages were thus shared with friends on my Facebook page (and for anyone wanting to do that simply go to and type in the daily heading into the search bar an up it pops so you can copy and paste!). I highly recommen ...more
April Cardinal
Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Buechner is wonderful. His thoughts are always inspiring, always challenging me to see things in a different way, and always making me feel like it's okay to think outside of the box. He is brilliant. This book is great for short daily insights.
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you are a person of faith, I highly encourage you to get journey through a year with these devotions. Buechner's wise reflections are an amazing way to start each day, and you will find your brain bringing his words back again and again. . . .
Brian Allain
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent "greatest quotes" book. Be sure to read February 28. Also see
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Two stories about how I came to read this collection of daily meditations. First, many years ago I was a communications director in a college that had just welcomed a new dean. She often mentioned Buechner as someone she read and deeply admired. As a way of gaining insight into my new boss, I bought this book and one or two others.
Well, the dean turned out to be totally unqualified for the position (although quite charismatic) and left after an extremely tumultuous period (at least for me—befor
Jun 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is just what the title says, a daily reader from one of the richest, warmest voices still living in literature. These morsels of solid food for mind and heart will see many days even after the dear man is gone too.

No bones about it, Frederick Buechner is my favorite living author. He simply has a way of putting things that moves me to action and repose at the same time, to both internal contentment and stark rage at the world's pains and injustices. Having his tomes at hand to glance a
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book influenced my faith journey at a crucial time in my life. I wanted to start a prayer-life, didn't fit in with many religious types, and liked the pretty cover of this book. I had no idea I had chosen wisely at all. It was more of a whim. And yet, I couldn't have chosen a better starting place for my spiritual journey than this daily devotional. This is where I was first introduced to Frederick Buechner. And through this collection of writings divided into thought-provoking snippets I w ...more
Oct 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: religionish
I used to be the kind of person that woke up really, really, really early and read things "spiritual" and tried to think about things that mattered to me for a few minutes before the day started. I'd like to be that kind of person again. sometimes i pick up a book like this and try to get there again.
Some of the clips are too out of context for me (snippets from his books), but some a like because he just opens up a big hearken question and lets it sit there.
This book is also somewhat of an anom
Sandy H
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I used Listening to Your Life several years ago as my daily meditation resource and loved it--I have always found Frederick Buechner's writings to be thought-provoking and touch that part of me that finds literature to be one of the greatest resources for my spiritual growth. Buechner's non-fiction prose still reads like literature without becoming too frothy--I often used quotations from his works in my preaching. I also appreciate daily meditation resources that don't try to tell me what the m ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Today I read the last devotion for 2015 and am filled with gratitude for Frederick Buechner whose meditative reflections - one for each day - kept me company all of this year.

You don't have to be a believer to read "Listening To Your Life". Buechner writes insightfully from his observations of life and his empathy for our human needs and struggles. I have found it illuminating and comforting to spend a few minutes every day reflecting on a short passage of reading. These are bite size readings
Sydney Avey
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
This book goes on my devotional classics shelf, alongside my leatherbound copies of My Utmost For HIs Highest, Streams in the Desert, and The Valley of Vision. In the spiritual tradition of self-examination, Buechner strikes a chord with me on so many subjects. His way of expressing what I feel is note perfect. For example, "Faith in God is less apt to proceed from miracles than miracles from faith in God." A sentence like this will motivate me to look for miracles throughout my day. His treatis ...more
Luke Magnuson
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-faith
“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.”

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.”
Monica Snyder
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Buechner. These daily meditations are a beautiful arrangement of his work in bite size pieces.
Terri Fleming
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book more than once but picked it up again for the very first time. I love Buechner's writing. I had forgotten how much.
Nancy Williamson
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful addition to one's daily meditations....
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
He is an excellent writer. I think this kind of chopped up writing (where someone else has taken someone's work and parsed it out to 365 days) is bound to be a little hit or miss. I enjoyed reading it most days and it definitely inspires me to read more of his writings. Here is a sample:

I pick the children up at the bottom of the mountain where the orange bus lets them off in the wind. They run for the car like leaves blowing. Not for keeps, to be sure, but at least for the time being, the world
Sep 24, 2007 rated it liked it
This is a daily devotional taken from snippets of Buechner's books. I have been reading it for a while. It is Christian based and usually about Christian topics, sometimes vaguely. Todays was linking all weddings to the wedding in Cana.

I agree with him on some things, think he often writes very thoughtfully, and love the way that he writes non-fiction like it could belong in a novel. Sometimes I think he is a little pretentious. The first day I read, it had some negative over-generalization abo
Melanie Griffin
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: thoughtful Christians (not fundies)
This is one of my favorite daily meditation books. It contains excerpts from Buechner's fiction, memoir, and essays, so it never gets tiresome or repetitive as do some daily readers by a single author. Buechner's voice and personality is so compelling and humorous, I often feel as if I've stopped by for a cup of tea and a quick chat with the man himself. Such a creative and imaginative writer! You might not care for this if you're not a Jesus-person, though.

I give it a 4 rather than a 5 because
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith-based
This book touched my heart deeply. There were moments when I was reading and I was suddenly swept into an emotional and personal reminder of things long buried. Frederick Buechner has the blessed ability to put faith, doubt, hurt, suffering, jubilation and those 'aha' moments into words that pierce your heart. Several times I was moved to cleansing tears...other times moved to solid strength and faith. A beautiful will carry a copy of it with you all through life...mine is tattered, u ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I'm already rating it because I've read it before. It was a while ago, though, and I was in a different place both literally and metaphorically, and I think I'll get a lot more from it this year.
Update: I read it through again in 2012. I like pertinent quotes, although on the other hand with many of them you do feel like the context would have been helpful.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
On Jan. 20, you'll hear Pastor Thompson refer to a minister named Frederick Buechner. Dr. Buechner is one of the most extraordinary thinkers in current Christianity. This book -- LISTEN TO YOUR LIFE -- is an accessible introduction to his work.
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Buechner is one of my favorite Christian writers. He is a skilled author who expresses spiritual truth in a fresher and more expressive light than many current writers. You will find yourself resonating with many of the thoughts of this man and you will enjoy his books.
Kate Leonard
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read it through once and am starting the second time through. Buechner is a gem. He has the rare gift of making God accessible. Buechner and C.S. Lewis are solely responsible for my being able to believe in God. Their insights touch my heart, guide my mind, and eradicate doubts.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must for my daily walk in life. Frederick Buechner has the rare gift of making the spiritual alive and real in a material world. His gift of looking at life in a deep, prophetic way enables me to get my perspective aligned in the morning before I start my day.
May 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
these daily devotionals by buechner are short enough to easily swallow whenever you have a few spare moments during the day. i've never been one to sink easily into the routine of devotions, but this book caught my eye and has continued to hold my attention.
Jeff Wiersma
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've used this as a daily meditation/reflection guide for the better part of 8 years, and it still speaks new things to me. When asked to comment on this gem, Maya Angelou said "This book is meant to possess, and at the same time liberate, the heart. I'm happy to report it succeeds."
Matt Hill
Jun 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
the snippets from his random fiction don't usually work, but esp. stuff from *gospel as fairy tale* are still so insightful and excellent . .
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Frederick Buechner is a highly influential writer and theologian who has won awards for his poetry, short stories, novels and theological writings. His work pioneered the genre of spiritual memoir, laying the groundwork for writers such as Anne Lamott, Rob Bell and Lauren Winner.

His first book, A Long Day's Dying, was published to acclaim just two years after he graduated from Princeton. He entere
More about Frederick Buechner
“Christ never promises peace in the sense of no more struggle and suffering. Instead, he helps us to struggle and suffer as he did, in love, for one another. Christ does not give us security in the sense of something in this world, some cause, some principle, some value, which is forever. Instead, he tells us that there is nothing in this world that is forever, all flesh is grass. He does not promise us unlonely lives. His own life speaks loud of how, in a world where there is little love, love is always lonely. Instead of all these, the answer that he gives, I think, is himself. If we go to him for anything else, he may send us away empty or he may not. But if we go to him for himself, I believe that we go away always with this deepest of all our hungers filled.” 10 likes
“Let him tell them the truth. Before the Gospel is a word, it is silence. It is the silence of their own lives and of his life. It is life with the sound turned off so that for a moment or two you can experience it not in terms of the words you make it bearable by but for the unutterable mystery that it is. Let him say, "Be silent and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Be silent and know that even by my silence and absence I am known. Be silent and listen to the stones cry out.

Out of the silence let the only real news comes, which is sad news before it is glad news and that is fairy tale last of all.”
More quotes…