Secrets…..we all have them. Why? What good do they do us? I know that we as human beings do not want others to think less of us. We fear being shunned, thrown out of the group or mocked. But maybe we really feel that people will not understand. They will think less of us. We fear that someone we love would turn their back on us and walk away….well, here’s a news flash…..they are not your friend!
I am an open book. I was just made that way. I don’t have secrets……I have shared everything with at least one person I know. The more ashamed I am with the secret, the safer the person I tell. Why? I can not take the pressure that secrets press on me. I have learned who is safe to share them with ….I have learned to just keep my head held high and be honest.
Why am I honest? Well, I learned that no one is perfect. If they pretend that they are, they are just covering up secrets. Ok, I hope that works for them. I hope the load is bearable. I hope the secrets do not manifest and eat away at their insides. That is what secrets do you know. Now, I am not telling you to share everything with everyone…I tried that, it does not work well. What I am saying is…have the courage to unload your heart’s aches to a safe person, even if you have to pay for it by the hour.
Here are some examples:
When I was 18, I walked into my Mom’s library one day and saw her crying. “What’s wrong?”, I asked. She slowly looked up at me with tears streaming down her face and said, “I am crying because today is your brother’s birthday, He would have been 21 years old.” “BROTHER…WHAT BROTHER?”, I said. I was in shock. I thought I was an only child. I thought I was the oldest child after my half brother was born. My mind was reeling! Seeing the pain in my eyes, she shared more. “Three years before you were born, your father and I had a baby boy named Tres (Short for Naud Burnett III) and he died one night while we were at a party that I did not want to go to…He was only 5 weeks old. They said it was crib death.”, she said. “I had a brother? Why have you never told me? How could you…never had told me?”, I asked. She was silent for a while. She was thinking of the right thing to say, then she said, “I didn’t want his death to affect your life.” What did that mean? I guess she did not want me to share in her pain of losing a child, my brother. OR Was she harboring some type of guilt for being at a party instead of home where she might or might not have been able to save him? She had not wanted to go, but she did. Had she taken the blame and burden of his death on her own head? Was that her secret that she really was not sharing?
Secrets…sometimes we keep them inside because we can’t share the guilt or the pain of them. We want to either spare hurting someone else or we want to keep the pain all to ourselves. Those secrets are so private and deep, that it takes years before we can reveal them…..But I think there is healing when we finally let them out. I think sharing the pain allows the grief to subside a bit.
My oldest son came to me several times in Junior High and High school. He would come sit on the side of my bed. With his elbows on his thighs and his head bent down looking at the floor, he would say, “There is something I want to tell you….but I can’t….I just can’t.” Now a mother’s heart falls to her toes and then races back up to her chest and pounds. “What is it Chas? What’s wrong”, I would ask…no, it was more like pleading. He would just look at the floor, shake his head back and forth and say, “I want to tell you but I just can’t.” I would ask questions like, “Is it the drugs? Are you gay? Did you get someone pregnant? I was trying to think of any thing that would be hard to admit. I kept pleading, “What is it Chas, you have to tell me!!! Tell me!”.
He could never reveal his secret. All his answers to my previous questions were no. I had no idea what was tormenting my son. He just could not open up. He did the same thing to his brother several times during the college years. He wanted us to know, but when it was time to share, he just could not do it. What was it? We will never truly know. Nine months ago he committed suicide. What ever it was, as a mother I feel it might have played a part in his leaving. Was it a mental issue or depression? Maybe. Was it something else? I believe that some Secrets can finally kill you. If he had opened up and gotten help for what was wrong, maybe he would be alive and thriving right now. That is what goes through my mind. But he didn’t do that. He remained silent. He kept the secret. Now I have to live with not fully knowing the secret. It is hard, but one day when I get to heaven he will tell me, if the answer is even important then….
Secrets what good are they really? They eat away at you and you just relive the pain over and over. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? What good is there in that?
I was in a volatile marriage. I would reach out to people with the truth of what was going on in my personal life and how it was affecting me. I watched people shun me. I watched people turn their back on me. I became increasingly withdrawn. Dark circles under my eyes and weight loss had me looking horrible. I stopped being involved in the community. I was going into a black hole of despair. Finally I got the courage to file for a divorce and build a safe home for myself and my children. I found a counselor, talked to my pastor, attended Al-anon meetings and found that I had a handful of solid friends who were going to walk this nightmare out with me. Sharing my secrets did not work with people who were not true friends, even if I thought they were. Lesson learned.
I had to talk to someone who could lead me out of this black hole I found myself living in or I was not going to make it. I had to share secrets that kept eating away at my mind. I had to heal from all the the chaos I had gotten used to. I had to heal from all the verbal abuse scars and fears that had been a part of my everyday existence. It has taken me 10 years. I have read over 100 books on the subjects from self help, Boundaries and Books by Max Lucado and others. I have taken nuggets from everything I have read that applied to the problems inside me and put them into use. I have crawled out of the black hole, I continually dismiss the lies said about me and I continue to moved on. Is it easy? Heck NO! One step forward two steps back in the beginning. I have cried enough to fill a baby pool. I have listened to tapes in my head of the verbal abuse until I finally threw them away as trash.
Today I help other people who are in or have been in the same ugly nightmare I once lived in. I can help others a tiny bit with what I have learned and what worked for me. I share my secrets now to show someone else that they are not alone. I have walked in your shoes. I have felt your feelings. I can share your pain.
*** Isn’t that what life is really about? Going through life is messy, filled with trials and problems. What good are those events if you do not help someone else through them? What good are the things you learned if you don’t share them?
It takes courage to be honest! Some people can’t do it. I understand. I pray there will be a time that they can. You can not heal unless you get your wounds tended to. Asking for help or sharing is a way to expose the wound so someone might have the salve to put on them. Those of us who run away from the wounds are afraid of the sight of them. They are just weak, not bad people. They don’t know what to do. Find someone who does! Don’t give up! Keep searching for help and the answers. Keep opening up to people who have the salve. Keep looking for healing!!!!
Secrets….why do we keep them? What good use are they?