Beneath the face I am a family plot. All the people I have ever been are buried there—the bouncing boy, his mother’s pride; the pimply boy and secret sensualist, the reluctant infantryman; the beholder at dawn through hospital plate-glass of his first-born child. All these selves I was I am no longer, not even the bodies they wore are my body any longer, and although when I try, I can remember scraps and pieces about them, I can no longer remember what it felt like to live inside their skin. Yet they live inside my skin to this day, they are buried in me somewhere, ghosts that certain songs, tastes, smells, sights, tricks of weather can raise, and although I am not the same as they, I am not different either because their having been then is responsible for my being now. I am like a candle lit from a candle lit from a candle, as Gautama said, the traveling flame never the same and never different either… (Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace)
Or silence—silence between people, strangers sitting beside each other on a train or at night or taking shelter under the same awning in a rainstorm. Two lives hidden behind faces, divided by fathoms of empty space, wrapped round in silence which one of them breaks then with maybe some word that in one way or another means Know me, Know me…and something that never was before comes into being as the other replies and something is made manifest—a lunar landing, a foot print on an alien star. (Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace).