By Frederick Buechner
With eloquence, candor, and ease, a celebrated writer tells the tale of his father's alcohol abuse and suicide and lines the impact of this mystery on his existence as a son, father, husband, minister, and author.
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Extra resources for Telling Secrets
I think of my father’s death as in its way his exodus, his escape from bondage, and of the covenant that my mother made with my brother and me never to talk about him, and of the promised land of pre-World War II Bermuda that we reached through the wilderness and bewilderness of our first shock and grief at losing him. As I understand it, to say that God is mightily present even in such private events as these does not mean that he makes events happen to us which move us in certain directions like chessmen.
It was at this time that I wrote two short autobiographical volumes called The Sacred Journey in 1982 and Now and Then in 1983, and they helped let a little light and air into the dark place where I was imprisoned. They gave me more of a sense than I had ever had before of how as far back as I could remember things had been stirring in my life that I was all but totally unaware of at the time. If anybody had predicted when I was an undergraduate at Princeton that I was going to be ordained as a minister ten years after graduation, I think I would have been flabbergasted.
Shouted out like a battle cry; the rubber Snoopy doll that traveled with him wherever he went marked on its chest with where, on his own chest, they had tried to burn away his cancer with radiation. I never knew what he would do next or say next, but I was never in any doubt as to who he was, which was, for me, a human being I could talk to about almost anything, somebody I could be as much myself with as I am capable of being with almost anybody. On certain occasions—like seeing his sheer ecstasy as our dachshund Rätsel made one of his running dives eight feet out into the middle of a swimming pool—I laughed with Dudley Knott laughter that had such self-forgetfulness and friendship and gladness in it that it was a kind of holy communion of laughter.
Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner