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Frederick Buechner is the popular author of such nonfiction titles as Telling the Truth, Wishful Thinking, and Peculiar Treasures. The New York Times Book Review described his recently published memoir, The Sacred Journey, as a "beautifully successful experiment." In addition to The Final Beast, which was originally published in 1965, Mr. Buechner is the author of ten other novels, including the bestselling A Long Day's Dying and, most recently, Godric. He makes his home in Rupert, Vermont.
One of todays finest writers and preachers characteristically blends perceptiveness and deep insight to freshly explore faith, hope, love, and the power of words.
I Chronicles 16:1, 7-12
And they brought in the ark of God, and set it inside the tent which David had pitched for it; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God....Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brethren: "0 give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! ... Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually! Remember the wonderful works that he has done, the wonders he wrought, the judgments he uttered.
Luke 23:42, 43
And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, this day you will be with me in Paradise."
Every once in a while, if you're like me, you have a dream that wakes you up. Sometimes it's a bad dream — a dream in which the shadows become so menacing that your heart skips a beat and you come awake to the knowledge that not even the actual darkness of night is as fearsome as the dreamed darkness, not even the shadows without as formidable as the shadows within. Sometimes it's a sad dream — a dream sad enough to bring real tears to your sleeping eyes so that it's your tears that you wake up by, wake up to. Or again, if you're like me, there are dreams that take a turn so absurd that you wake laughing — as if you need to be awake to savor the full richness of the comedy. Rarest of all is the dream that wakes you with what I can only call its truth.
Several years ago I had such a dream, and it is still extraordinarily fresh in my mind. I dreamt that I was staying in a hotel somewhere and that the room I was given was a room that I loved. I no longer have any clear picture of what the room looked like, and even in the dream itself I think it wasn't so much the way the room looked that pleased me as it was the way it made me feel. It was a room where I felt happy and at peace, where everything seemed the way it should be and everything about myself seemed the way it should be too. Then, as the dream went on, I wandered off to other places and did other things and finally, after many adventures, ended back at the same hotel again. Only this time I was given a different room which I didn't feel comfortable in at all. It seemed dark and cramped, and I felt dark and cramped in it. So I made my way down to the man at the desk and told him my problem. On my earlier visit, I said, I'd had this marvelous room which was just right for me in every way and which I'd very much like if possible to have again. The trouble, I explained, was that I hadn't kept track of where the room was and didn't know how to find it or how to ask for it. The clerk was very understanding. He said that he knew exactly the room I meant and that I could have it again anytime I wanted it. All I had to do, he said, was ask for it by its name. So then, of course, I asked him what the name of the room was. He would be happy to tell me, he said, and then he told me. The name of the room, he said, was Remember.
Remember, he said. The name of the room I wanted was Remember. That was what woke me. It shocked me awake, and the shock of it, the dazzling unexpectedness of it, is vivid to me still. I knew it was a good dream, and I felt that in some unfathomable way it was also a true dream. The fact that I did not understand its truth did not keep it from being in some sense also a blessed dream, a healing dream, because you do not need to understand healing to be healed or know anything about blessing to be blessed. The sense of peace that filled me in that room. The knowledge that I could return to it whenever I wanted to or needed to — that was where the healing and blessing came from. And the name of the room — that was where the mystery came from; that was at the heart of the healing though I did not fully understand why. The name of the room was Remember. Why Remember? What was there about remembering that brought a peace so deep, a sense of well-being so complete and intense that it jolted me awake in my bed? It was a dream that seemed true not only for me but true for everybody. What are we to remember — all of us? To what end and purpose are we to remember?A Room Called Remember copyright © by Frederick Buechner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All Rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.