Monday, April 17, 2006

Shared Secrets

As you may remember, April is National Poetry Month. I heard a wonderful snippet of the following poem on the radio yesterday:

Two teenage girls
Discover the secret
To the meaning of life
From a single line of poetry.

I, who wrote the poem,
Do not know the secret...

(Unfortunately, the radio show did not credit the author. I have no idea who wrote it. Any help would be appreciated.)

I spent some time yesterday talking with a friend who had a secret that needed sharing. It wasn't shocking. It wasn't scandalous. It was simply long overdue.

Everyone has secrets. Often, though, the things we think are secrets are actually common knowledge. They rarely surprise the people who know us. Since we're too afraid, reticent, or guilt-ridden to tell anyone, however, our "secret" remains locked within us. We build walls around portions of our lives in order to better keep our secrets guarded. As a result, more and more of what makes us unique is cordoned off, closed in, or shut down.

Refusing to acknowledge a secret gives it the power to blackmail our psyche. It colors our relationships with those who love us. It leeches our self-confidence and self-sufficiency. It forces us to live in the past and to fear the inevitable future. But when secrets are spoken -- even in whispers -- their ability to insulate, isolate, dominate, and manipulate us vanishes.