You might have noticed that the URL of my blog is now twostories.blog. Well, even though there is some meaning behind the “dbw26”, I decided to change names. For a while now, WordPress has been offering me a real domain name (i.e. not a “wordpress.com” address), but I took some time to settle on what the name would be. Those of you with websites know that it is difficult to come up with a meaningful but unique name on the “.com” domain. Recently, WordPress worked out a deal to create a “.blog” domain, thus creating new space for web addresses. I have settled on twostories.blog. The contents of this post will soon makeup my About page.
So why “twostories”? For two reasons, really. First, because, as you’ve probably gleaned from my posts, I’m using this site to provide updates about my family’s battle with my cancer, but I’m also using it to talk about my faith journey as a follower of Christ. Some posts are both or more one than the other. If I feel it appropriate, I’ll put a disclaimer at the top if the post has nothing to do with my health so as not to manipulate those that are reading only for health updates, though it is my hope that you’d read on anyway.
The other reason I’ve chosen “twostories” (and the site’s namesake) is a sermon by a great theologian and author, Frederick Buechner (pronounced “BEEK-ner”). If you want to know what I’m about or, at least, what I hope to be about and think the whole world should be about, then I encourage you to read his sermon “The Two Stories.” I give thanks to my dear friend, Pastor Jared Bryant, who gave me a book of Buechner sermons not long after I started sharing online. Being open and vulnerable about your health and your faith is no easy thing, and there have been many times that I have wanted to quit writing due to feelings of embarrassment, insecurity, and fear of judgement. Sensing this, Jared pointed me to Mr Buechner’s writing because he thought it would resonate with me, and this sermon in particular because it would encourage me. It certainly did.
Buechner says “…to tell the story of who we really are and of the battle between light and dark, between belief and unbelief, between sin and grace that is waged within us all costs plenty and may not gain us anything, we’re afraid, but an uneasy silence and a fishy stare.” Indeed. But he also says, “each of us has a tale to tell if we would only tell it.” So I try to tell my story despite frequent reservations. I’ll leave it to you to read the sermon to understand its profound affect on me. You can read it on his website, here: www.frederickbuechner.com/blog/2016/8/20/the-two-stories
I’ll end with one short story. My son, Owen, was named after the main character of the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. I first read the book in my early 20s (around 26 years ago). Irving was my favorite author at that time, and this book became my favorite of favorites, though the paperback is long gone. Looking back, I really don’t remember what resonated with me about Owen then (that’s another discussion), but it was significant enough that my wife, Kim, suggested we give our son that name. Out of the blue, this past Christmas she gave me a hardback volume of Owen Meany to go on my bookshelf with the rest of my Irving novels. It remained there several months because I didn’t begin reading it again until after my surgery last year. It wasn’t too long before Jared gave me the book of Buechner sermons.
The book opens with three epigraphs, one from the Apostle Paul, another from Leon Bloy (French novelist), and one from none other than Frederick Buechner, who happened to be the school minister of the Philips Exeter Academy, the grade school alma mater of John Irving, class of 1961. I find it interesting that my favorite author of my early adulthood was significantly influenced by the man whose writing is having a great impact on me now. Yes, another strange coincidence. Here is the thought-provoking epigraph from A Prayer for Owen Meany:
“Not the least of my problems is that I can hardly even imagine what kind of an experience a genuine, self-authenticating religious experience would be. Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” –Frederick Buechner