Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Terrible Secret

In 1957, park rangers found a cub clinging to a tree after a forest fire, an improbable sole survivor...

Not exactly true. How can the Bear explain how the author of this blog is able to be fully man and fully Bear? It is impossible, and also not exactly true. The more the man, the further the Bear retreats into the woods. It is not a real mystery at all, just two pieces warring to be most of the pie. (With a half cup of Grace, lest the Bear be accused of semi-Pelagianism.) 

The Bear suspects there are others who are not entirely Men and Women, or, to put it in the terms of the Bear's favorite book -- the one he cannot read without crying -- the Velveteen Rabbit: we are trying to become real.

As far as the Bear goes, you can read the story here.

Now the Bear shall tell the rest of the story.

In August, 1957, in a small town optimistically named Energy, a human baby was born in a cheap motel room to a poor family. That baby was the human incarnation of the Bear, a thing that had not happened since the Bear first met St. Corbinian in the 8th Century. Prior to this the Bear had merely been a temporary man. At least for now, the Bear seems to be mostly man, with occasional lapses into Bear. Think werebear, only the transformation is triggered not by a full moon, but by liturgical abuse, snooty heretics and doctrinal incoherence.

Anyway, prospects were dim for the Bear's life as a human, what with being born in a motel room and all. But lo, a kindly insurance salesman took pity on the child and, after much labor and a not insignificant amount of under-the-table money, the baby was officially adopted and given a new name.

The child's prospects were suddenly much brighter. He grew up in a small town and showed remarkable agility in climbing trees and an immunity to bee stings. His adoptive parents kept his terrible secret from outsiders.

The child would occasionally grow a thick coat of hair, a snout and long claws. But that's not the secret the Bear is talking about.

The secret that was so closely guarded was that the Bear  -- the child -- was adopted.

In the '50s things were different. The Bear does not understand, but what was the single most glorious example of charity the Bear ever experienced, St. Corbinian notwithstanding, was somehow almost shameful. It was "none of anybody's business." The Bear respects that, and would not be telling this story if his parents were still living, because they took The Secret very seriously. Nowadays every celebrity has to have a publicly adopted Third World child or they're not quite A-listers. While one might wonder about the publicity, the openness is good.

Why write about this? Because it is, at bottom, a wonderful story that needs to be told. It is also a belated thank-you to the Bear's parents. Adoptive parents -- let's call them what they are, parents -- are unimaginably generous. If you have adopted a child, God bless you. If you are adopted, He already has.


  1. Thank you for revealing the Secret, Bear. Yes - I agree that the openness is good. It's difficult not to suspect that the recent movement promoting the ability of adoptees to connect with their birth parents - while doubtless only sometimes producing a happy result - has had the effect of causing people to think more deeply about the connections forged by procreation...the spirituality of procreation, I guess one could
    say. (Not that one would ever guess that based on the even more recent movement to annihilate the dignity of procreation.)

    May God bless the beautiful souls of your dear mother and father, for their loving gift to you and to the many whose lives have been incalculably blessed as a result.

  2. Thank you for the kind comment, Jane. Many people have unrealistic expectations about reunions, and it is easy to cause the adoptive parents to feel threatened. There is indeed a biological connection, especially if you are seeing people that look like you for the first time, and inexplicably have the same talents. But that is a boat that sailed long ago, and there is something unwholesome in trying to create an instant family to the possible detriment of the people who raised you. Way to much drama and risk for the warm glow of novelty, in the Bear's humble opinion.

  3. I'm only personally familiar with two instances of adoptee-birth parent reconnection, and in both cases the satisfactions of the experience have been counterbalanced by significant heartaches.


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