"To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do - to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst- is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still."
With that, Buechner had my full attention. What he went on to add continues to haunt me.
"The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from.
You can survive on your own.
You can grow strong on your own.
You can even prevail on your own.
But you cannot become human on your own.
Surely that is why, in Jesus' sad joke, the rich man has as hard a time getting into Paradise as the camel through the needle's eye because with his credit card in his pocket, the rich man is so effective at getting for himself everything he needs that he does not see that what he needs more than anything else in the world can be had only as a gift."
- Frederick Buechner