Buechner: Telling Secrets 2
“It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are—even if we tell it only to ourselves—because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly-edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.” Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets.
In Telling Secrets, Buechner shares his secrets, the story of his father’s suicide, the inability of his mother in live in reality in her nonlife, and his daughter’s anorexia. Buechner also begins to understand his parents through a dream where he is looking for a room named Remember, telling him that remembering would bring him peace.
Buechner learns that his father’s death did not end their relationship. Buechner resolved issues of his relationship with his father by dialoguing with him by writing with his non-dominate hand. Buechner also realizes that he carries a part of his mother in him. Buechner becomes aware that in ways he shares his mother’s and the dwarves’ deafness in CS Lewis’ Last Battle to what is going on with God and the people around him.
He writes that we really do not know God. God is always beyond our grasp, except maybe once when we touch the hem of his garment, often when we tell the truth and may not even consciously realize it, as Peter was telling the truth outside the high priest’s courtyard that he really did not know the man!
Like so many spiritual writers such as Nouwen and Merton, Buechner also sees that what deadens us the most to God’s presence within us is the inner dialogue within ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought.