Not All Secrets Are Bad


Steering my brood-plus-some down the road, my youngest bellows from the back ‘No secrets!’ Glancing in the rear view mirror, I catch my middlest with her ear bent to the mouth of her leaning-in friend.
‘You know the rule, Sister.’
We all chime in surround sound and robotically bored:
‘We shouldn’t be sharing things in private that others with us aren’t allowed to be a part of.’
‘Sorry, Mom.’
‘No biggie, Mr. Piggy,’ I say, ‘Let’s just remember it’s not polite and there is really nothing we shouldn’t be able to share with each other.’
‘Will you turn the radio up, Mom?’
While Taylor Swift is shaking something off rather loudly, I twirl a strand of hair absentmindedly and imagine what those two in the back might have been whispering about. I trust my girl to be kind and chalk it up to planning a game of Teacher without little sisters around.
I get it.
Baby sisters tend to major in disruption because they like being sent to the Principal’s office. Still, not nice.
Because I am an avid rabbit-chaser, I head down the trail after secrets.
Is my rule about secrets rigid?
Being the object of a few, I will force kindness and respect while I am still able to train.
But…is there a time when secrets are okay?
I consider that maybe not all secrets are bad.
There have been a few instances where it was in a Person’s best interest to not know of my private fantasy of cupping (rather roughly) my hand over her mouth until words stopped spilling out of her lips.
If I had told her how much pleasure it would have given me to do that, it probably would have hurt her feelings or deeply frightened her.
I am thinking there are some other scenarios where the opposite of my Secrets rule might just be the kindest thing you could do for everyone around you…and also yourself.

Situations in which secrets are very, very good:
*Forgiving. Of course, this is one that you might let the other person in on if necessary. The mechanics of these words coming out of your mouth is cake-eating compared to forcing your heart to believe this is true. Choose this secretly over and over? I promise it will become true. (And over and over as needed) (and over)
*Doing right things. We each have a thousand basic choices every day. Being a good human is a very good secret. And hey? You don’t have to tell others about each great thing you choose to do in a day. Trust me…this won’t stay secret for long.
*Gag Orders. It could just be your healthy secret that you’re imagining duct tape on your own mouth when you have a bit of unsolicited advice on raising children, suggestions on his driving, or the perfect come-back.
*Burying yourself. I like to joke about the fact that I am a for-real life zombie: I have these desires, thoughts, impulses, sharper-than-a-sword words at the right-worst times, bad habits and general fleshy things that I keep trying to kill.
They keep coming back. I keep killing, dying, coming back.
When I bury these things privately in my heart before they escape my hands, mouth, head…people start to see less and less of the gruesome undead. Sometimes? I even start staying in the grave longer and longer.
*Outserving others (especially someone who drives you crazy). Tired of being the one to apologize first? Or maybe you’re the only one who does everything all the time. Maybe you’re both hiding from each other on separate aisles at the grocery store so you don’t have to speak. Whatever. Making this secret choice every day changes everything all around you even when it doesn’t feel like it.
There’s a saying going around that maybe you’ve heard before:

*Being brave. We can sit around the fire with marshmallows and talk all night about being scared out of our shorts about trying new things, pursuing our Purpose, or changing the world. When you climb out of bed every day and choose to make this secret choice? We all recognize it wasn’t easy…and we all win for the thing you’re being brave about.
Keep going, Friend.

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