Frederick Buechner on Secrets

“What we hunger for, perhaps more than anything else, is to be known in our full humanness, and yet, that is often just what we also fear more than anything else.

It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are … 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.

It is important to tell our own secrets too, because it makes it easier for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own.”

The Greek Chorus

The Greek Chorus doesn’t sit at our breakfast table, doesn’t attend our child’s teacher conferences or our family counseling sessions; yet, we often give them access to our control panel.


The Onlookers take credit for the straight  A’s, the trophies, the merit scholarships.
Their children’s records are unblemished.

A tardy slip.
A library fine.
Nothing more.

And they stand back, looking you up and down and buzzing amongst themselves, playing judge and jury.  Like a Greek Chorus, they chime in with unsolicited opinions and advice.

Be firm.
Set limits.
Just say no and mean it.
Have you tried grounding him?

Their blame is palpable.
And you dutifully pick it up and drape it over your shoulders, cloaking yourself in the shame.

The unspoken message, of course, is this:
If you were doing your job, your child wouldn’t be in this mess.