SamI’m re-reading a memoir called Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner. A counselor gave me this book several years ago, and I remember enjoying it. But it didn’t really sing for me. And then, very recently, I couldn’t stop thinking about this little story. I knew that I needed to read it again.

So that’s where I’m at. And honestly, it feels as though I’m reading this memoir with new eyes. I’m not so stuck in denial this time around. I see my own brokenness, and the brokenness of those around me. I see the bondage, the prison bars–whether real or simply felt–and all of these new sights allow this memoir to really glimmer and shine.

Here is a part that I pretty much adore:  “This is the self we are born with, and then of course the world does its work… we try to make ourselves into something that we hope the world will like better than it apparently did the selves we originally were. That is the story of all our lives, needless to say, and in the process of living out that story, the original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.”

Can I just say how exhausting this “putting on and taking off” truly is? I’ve lived most of my life like this. Pleasing people. Putting forth the smiles and good humor that was expected of me. Presenting the happy-go-lucky side of me, while doing my best to hide the sensitive, feeling parts.

And here’s what I love about art.

Art reconnects those broken synapses. It’s like a jolt of electricity, a bridge from the presented self to the true self. It truly is a gift from God. And here’s what I love about our Creator: He doesn’t just do something for the good of one; it’s for the good of many. So when you, dear artist, create from those deep places that stir your true self, you invite others to bridge their own gaps. To brazenly peel back the layers long concealed until “the original, shimmer self” gets a glimpse of sunlight after so many dark years.

Ernest Hemingway said, “Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” But our bleeding isn’t in vain. It’s the blood that heals, of course.

So what about you? Is it hard to create from your true self? How do you bridge the divide?



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6 thoughts on “Shine

  1. ahhh thank you sammie! feeling a bit emotional reading this. really speaks to me. totally identify and know it to be true. maybe i should check out that book! merry christmas dear friend!

    • sammiebennett on said:

      Ah, thanks so much, love! I’m so glad this spoke to you–thank you, Jesus, for that! Yeah, I’m really wanting to connect with the true woman God created me to be. I feel like there are more layers to pull back, but I’m excited for the process. Love you so much, friend.

  2. Brian Allain on said:

    Very nice thoughts. Personally I found Telling Secrets to be one of the best books I’ve read. Perhaps you would also be interested to know that Mr. Buechner now for the first time has a website: and a Facebook page:

    • sammiebennett on said:

      Thanks for this, Brian! I also think Telling Secrets is one of the best books I’ve read. I’m so glad to know the author has a website! Will definitely check out and thanks for visiting!

  3. Absolutely stunning post Sammie. I think writing really does repair me. I used to only write when I was really sad or really happy. But now I see how a daily relationship (like my relationship with the Creator) is key to transforming my life. I think there’s a lot of ‘magic’ in pursuing the work God set up for me to do. Writing forces me to process emotions and events I’d rather ignore. And I feel a great deal of fulfillment through writing. Thank you for writing this post. It really hit home.

  4. Pingback: Blessings | Quality of Life MinistriesQuality of Life Ministries

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