Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Secret Voice

Secrets can be juicy and fun.If you have ever made a surprise visit or thrown a surprise birthday party, you know how fun it can be to present someone with the gift of surprise. Remember when we were kids and we could not wait to sneak a peak at the presents from "Santa" that were resting in the back of our parents' closet? Those kinds of secrets are fun and exhilarating. The smiles and joy and laughter that comes with the surprise gift from a secret will create moments frozen in time. I think of them as ice cream to the soul.

Then there are the secrets that a person holds on to for reasons known only to them. Having lived a full life, I have seen the darker side of secrets that I believe most of us have hidden in our life's archive. Sometimes it is better left unknown. Being human and fallible, it may be wise to keep those broken moments to ourselves, especially if we learn from them. Then there are the secrets that hurt us the most; the ones we hide because if known would call us to accountability for our lives and the relationships within our lives that require our integrity. We all know the difference between the "juicy, ice cream" kind of surprise and the other kind that feels like cloak and dagger. To use a well known example, think of Richard Nixon and the secrets around Watergate. It left a devastating scar on his life, his family and the country.

It is not my intention to make this a moral forum. It is a forum for reflection that asks us all to lightly examine our lives. Socrates said "An unexamined life is not worth living." When a master painter is designing his canvas, he steps back and changes the direction of his colors and his art until they flow together. Our life is a canvas, it is up to us to use the stroke of our hand via the choices we make. Each choice is a stroke of paint that creates the picture we want to step into. A secret life is harmful if it can harm you or the people you love. I have learned if what I am seeking has to be pursued under a cloak of deception, it quite possibly is a dark alley that I simply do not want to enter. Ben Franklin said, "Always tell the truth, that way you don't have to remember anything." Keeping to sweet secrets makes for a sweeter life, not just for the people you love but for the peace it will give to you.

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