Today’s passage in Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner (HarperCollins, 2008) is from his novel Godric, and it’s lovely.
(The ghost of St. Cuthbert is talking with Godric; Glythwin is a rabbit.)
“THE NIGHT I DIED, they waved lit torches to and fro from that high ledge behind you there to tell my monks on Lindisfarne the news. Would you believe it, though? There was not one of them awake. So Glythwin sank his teeth into the abbot’s toe. You should have seen the jig he did with one foot tucked beneath him like a stork!”
“You say that you were dead, and yet you saw?” I said.
“Not only saw but laughed,” he said, ” till tears ran down.”
“Would I be right that you’re a ghost then, Father, and you haunt this place?”
“Ah well, and if it comes to that,” he said, “your shadow fell here long before your foot, and that’s a kind of haunting too. Fame had long been calling you, I mean, before you heard at last and came.”
” I heard no call, Father,” I said. ” I came here as a stranger, and I came by chance.”
“Was it as a stranger and by chance you wept?” he said, then let me wonder at his words a while before he spoke again. “When a man leaves home, he leaves behind some scrap of his heart. Is it not so, Godric ? . . . It’s the same with a place a man is going to. Only then he sends a scrap of his heart ahead.”