The Need For Gladness

Andrew Sullivan —  May 8 2011 @ 1:30pm

Tony Woodlief directs young people to his favorite words of wisdom:

What [Frederick Buechner] says is that our vocation is that place where our deep gladness meets the world’s great hunger. “In a world where there is so much drudgery, so much grief, so much emptiness and fear and pain, our gladness in our work is as much needed as we ourselves need to be glad.”

These are scandalous notions, that we need to be glad, that the world needs our gladness. Our Puritan forbears were certainly suspicious of gladness, and their modern, secular inheritors of grimness—professors and politicians and preachers—demand not gladness, but utility.