Keeping secrets can be like making the bed every morning in some families. It becomes part of their everyday ritual. A ritual that becomes so common and keepsake it stops hovering at the surface and sinks slowly down into the intricate layers that makes up a family.
The word itself ‘secrets’ can summon dark and sinister images of skeletons in closets and evil wrong doings that must always stay hidden. But secrets can be quite the opposite. There are the secrets of an impending wedding proposal or the news of a new baby on the way or even a surprise birthday party. Little secrets that stitch us one stitch closer together in the happy memories that make up families.
But what of those little secrets that tear us apart?
I have always kept secrets. Secrets that have been the spring board to babies, weddings and surprise birthday parties. And secrets that are less of a celebration and more of a forever secret, the type that are still locked inside with the key thrown away.
Keeping secrets is one of the layers of my family. Maybe it is a layer of every family. Maybe without them families cannot exist. Family secrets are like the steel inside a foundation, deep and buried, out of sight, but holding everything still and together. This year I have been the keeper of many secrets. Holding on tight to and protecting the secrets that have not been mine to keep.
But that is what you do when you love someone; you protect the secrets they give to you. You guard them and make them your own. The secrets become more than stitches that bind us together they become living entities. They become entities that you cannot neglect, or forget or even ignore.
Sometimes secrets demand your attention when you least expect it. Instead of staying low and hidden in their dark place, sometimes secrets rear to the surface and scream at you to be noticed.
I had to make a decision last week. A decision that tossed up the trust and respect of someone I love against a secret. The person I love and the secret were both family. My first instinct was to side with the secret. I traded the love of that person to protect the secret.
Within moments guilt reared its head. Guilt can twist and turn on a secret threatening to make it come undone. Guilt took me by the hand and made me pick up the phone again. Call the person I love and let her know the secret.
The secret did not tear us apart. She understood. The secret was still safe. The love was still safe.
Maybe that is the best part of any family. Not the secrets we keep hidden, deep dark and away from sight. Maybe it is not the secrets that stitch us together one stitch at a time. Maybe in the end, we are only threads of love that keep weaving through life’s moments reminding us of what really matters most.
Do you keep secrets?
Do secrets keep us together or tear us apart?