In the Wilderness Buechner
The Final Secret
“THE FINAL SECRET, I think, is this: that the words "You shall love the Lord your God" become in the end, less a command than a promise. And the promise is that, yes, on the weary feet of faith and the fragile wings of hope, we will come to love him at last as from the first he has loved us—loved us even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness, because he has been in the wilderness with us. He has been in the wilderness for us. He has been acquainted with our grief. And, loving him, we will come at last to love each other too so that, in the end, the name taped on every door will be the name of the one we love.
"And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you rise."
And rise we shall, out of the wilderness, every last one of us, even as out of the wilderness Christ rose before us. That is the promise, and the greatest of all promises.
- Frederick Buechner, Originally published in A Room Called Remember, from Frederick Buechner Center, Quote of the Day.
I daily talk with people living in the wilderness. I still remember what it was like for me to journey into the wilderness. I also know my wilderness experiences are not the same as theirs, so I listen and listen and listen to their story. I try not to give advice, which is so difficult for the “fixer” in me. I try not to tell about my journey, because I remember I mostly wanted to have someone listen to me when I lived in my wilderness. The only real answer I know is this insight from Buechner that our God, Christ, was in the wilderness as well. This is amazing if you really think about it. The God of our understanding knows, really knows what it is like to live in the wilderness. Our God is a wounded healer.
God’s promise also is presence. Our God promises presence with us always but especially in the wilderness. There are also angels there who will minister to us. Being aware of their presence can make all the difference. My experience is that if we keep making gratitude lists and keep trying to learn what the wilderness has to teach us, we will begin to see the angels as well as God’s presence. We slowly start our journey out of the desert, remembering what we were taught by the wilderness experience as we begin that new journey now as wounded healers.