Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pssst...You Wanna Know A Secret?

Ah, secrets. They run the gamut from a wonderful surprise kept hidden, to a hurtful lie kept in the shadows.

I grew up living a life where there was a lot of secret keeping.  We didn't speak outside of our house about what went on within. At least, I didn't. I think that was the general unspoken message. I kind of grew up with the thinking that you keep your personal life, well, personal.  The sad truth is that all of those secrets put quite a heavy load on a kid's heart and soul. They also cause walls upon walls to get erected because you don't want people to get too close and discover all that you've tried so hard to not reveal.

I had a lot of practice, so I got really good at keeping secrets. In fact, I'd say I'm pretty much the master of it. There are things that I know that could ultimately change the course of lives. But they aren't my secrets to tell.

The thing about secrets is that, eventually, they always come out in some way, shape or form. Part of that is because not everyone is great at keeping them. There are those that DELIGHT, frankly, in revealing every sordid detail they know about every single person they know. There are also weepy confessions and guilty consciences by others who can no longer go on with the tales they've stuck to in the past. There is also crazy coincidence that sometimes lets the secret get blown wide open unintentionally. Some people call that Karma, but I don't really believe in that. If it existed, there would be a hell of a lot more people getting a hell of a lot more coming to them-and it doesn't happen because they are still going about their merry ways.

There are good secrets, too, of course. Plans for birthdays fall in this category, trips surreptitiously scheduled, babies whose gender isn't revealed 'til the last minute. When life gives us these great secret reveals, it's like the world is trying to balance out all of the crummy secrets we've had to keep under our hats in the past.

There are also secrets that need to be kept for a time until one has all of the info. There's no point in telling the world a half of something until you can sit down with all of the facts. Those kind of secrets are necessary ones and usually cover health, financial or marital worries.

However, most often when someone leans forward and conspires in a whisper with a "You wanna know a secret?" my heart always immediately sighs. You know what? I really, really don't. It's a burden to carry all of those secrets around for others when I've also got my own. I'm talking about gossipy secrets here-not the good kind or the private need for help kind. I'm very open to receiving those!

My own opinion is that no good can generally come from keeping a secret. If you need to keep something hidden, you probably shouldn't be doing it, thinking it, saying it, planning it or allowing it. Keep your personal life personal, keep your secrets to happy surprises and we'll all walk a little taller and our hearts will feel a little lighter.

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