The Secret Keeper

I’m a Secret Keeper. People bring me their secrets when their hearts are getting too crowded. When the secrets they carry are particularly restless, beating their wings against the barred windows, crying out in loneliness and neglect. The secrets can sense their humans on the other side of the closed door of the heart, can sense they are wishing more than anything that their secret were dead, or at least quiet. So they scream all the louder.

It takes long nights of sleeplessness and days of heartache, of tears bursting into places they are not welcome, of desires that cannot be spoken or shared. But finally the person comes to it. Comes to me. Carefully, shamefully, they lay their secret in my open hands. I take it, and bless it, and them.

Blessed are the broken, for they shall be made whole. And when they have been put back together, they will find they are bigger than before, with great wide plains of understanding, mountain ranges of strength, and love to fill oceans.

Then I take the secret and break it in half, and each of us eats, like a sacrament.

•••

I can feel the weight of the secrets inside me. Sometimes I feel drunk with the power. How many lives I could shatter if I pleased! Every now and again, the secrets clamor inside me, begging to be invited out to the party.

You are not mine to invite, I tell them. And again I slam the door and lock it.

•••

I play them music and tell them stories, these secrets. I cannot let them out, but I can love them. Most of them have never felt love before, only shame, guilt, and fear. When they hear love in my voice, they quiet.

Beloved are you, children of the flaws of existence. Beloved what you reveal of humanity, beloved what you show we can become.

They are dark. They are dirty. They are bedraggled. They are sometimes ugly. I love them nonetheless.

Sometimes I slip into the locked room where I keep them, and sit with them. I wipe away their tears. They nuzzle up to me, aching desperately with loneliness, and I ache for their pain and the pain of the person who created them.

We leave so little room in our world for mistakes, for weakness, for failure, for complexity, for forgiveness. Judgment feels good, feels righteous. Until it is ourselves we must judge.

•••

The secrets like when I tell them about the world we’re creating. The world we’re creating where they, too, will be invited out to play. Where the truth will be known, where the truth will set everyone free.

Where no one will need to hide when they are broken. Where the darkest truths of our being can be brought into the light and embraced wholeheartedly, loved and loved and loved until we find a place for them to fit without hurting anyone or anything. Where fear is a distant memory, and pain an opportunity to create more space in our being.

The secrets eat up my words with desperate hunger.

Tell it again, they beg, all plaintive voices and big hopeful eyes.

One day, I tell them, all locks will be broken. Every heart-door will open, and you will step out into the bright sunlight. The one you love best in the world will be there to greet you. To reach out to you and pull you into their arms, saying, “There you are, my beloved. I’ve waited so long to see you, to know you for what you are, and to welcome you home.”

These are the stories I tell them. Slowly, gently, the secrets fall asleep. I slip out my heart-door and lock it behind me.

I pray that I am telling them the truth.

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