In Others’ Words: Who’s Got a Secret?

Secrets secrets 2017

The women’s fiction series I’m writing? One of the themes is secrets. 

The funny thing is, I’m not a fan of secrets. I’m not saying I’ve never had secrets. I’m just saying I don’t like harboring them.

If asked, I would say growing up has meant realizing how damaging secrets can be and recognizing the need to reveal them — in the proper way and at the proper time. 

Do some secrets go unspoken? Of course they do … and I think there is a particular sadness when the truth is never spoken out loud.

I’ve taught my children to be careful not to pledge to keep a secret. Keeping another’s secret can be risky for them — and risky for the other person, too. Our family is all about surprises — birthday surprises, holiday surprises, “just because” surprises. A surprise is meant to be fun — to celebrate someone else. A secret? Too often there’s some sort of harmful or humiliating intent or you-should-know-this-but-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you element to what’s not being said.

In Your Words: Secrets? Surprises? Or both? What’s your take on secrets?







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  1. June 8, 2017, 12:16 am   /  Reply

    The problem with secrets is like the problem with lying; you have to be fluent in two different versions of the same story. Tell the truth, no secrets, and you don’t have to remember anything.

    Surprises are on a different page. A surprise gift or compliment is always nice, but anyone planning a surprise party for me – one in which I walk into a room and a bunch of people shout ‘Surprise!” – is likely to be facing down a drawn sidearm and cold eyes. I don’t do that kind of surprise well at all.

    • June 8, 2017, 8:08 am   /  Reply

      Well said, Andrew. Well said. And, um, I will remember the caution about surprise birthday parties.

  2. June 8, 2017, 5:36 am   /  Reply

    I love and agree with Andrew’s 1st paragraph. My experience is that in general secrets do more harm than good, kind of like wounds heal better open in sunlight than covered/hidden beneath band-aids that usually fall off anyway.

    • June 8, 2017, 8:10 am   /  Reply

      Dee: It’s true, that there are times when wounds need to be covered, and there are times when they need to be uncovered. It’s timing … and sometime we need the counsel of someone wiser to help us know what is the best course of action for healing.

  3. June 8, 2017, 8:03 am   /  Reply

    Sometimes if a secret would be incredibly damaging if told, it may be better to keep it. It really depends on the situation and knowing all sides of the story. I was a secret. I knew that there were people who had no idea I existed, and I had to prayerfully make the decision whether or not to tell them, regardless of how much I wanted to. In the end, God worked it all out, but that season of my life really showed me that truths uncovered always let in the light, even though it may hurt at the time.

    • June 8, 2017, 8:12 am   /  Reply

      Cathy: Thank you so much for joining the conversation. Yes, sometimes we are the secret. And prayer is required to know the “how” and the “when” of the telling. And sometimes we don’t tell the truth to everyone we think we will … or even to the person we originally think we should. That’s one thing I’ve realized.

  4. June 8, 2017, 9:27 am   /  Reply

    I’ve always told my kids that the ONLY secret they’re allowed to keep is if there’s a big fun surprise coming. Everything else is off the table. There was an instance in which a coach told the players not to tell their parents everything that went on in the dressing room. Ahh, NO. THAT kind of secret is wrong on so many levels. Thankfully, my kid knew that, and so did most of the team. Most. Let’s just say that coach was visited by a few parents after the next practice and one of them might have been a cop. Oh, and some may have been military.
    Just this past December, I found out about a brother and sister who’d been out there in the world, waiting to find me and my siblings. I went from having 2 siblings to having 5, in one Facebook message. I knew about 2, but not 3. With that message, 53 years of secrets and lies came crashing down on The Other Woman who stole my bio-father from my mom. So much pain, so much anger and heartache. Some parties involved don’t want to know anything. And some have reunions schedules for late summer.

    The coolest thing? My “half” sister looks like me. She even fixes her messy hair like I do.

    • June 8, 2017, 10:09 am   /  Reply

      Wow, Jennifer … you’ve added so much to the conversation today. As far as coaches go, I’ve been so thankful for the coaches my children have had because they’ve been trustworthy mentors to all of them. And yes, in families, each and every person can react differently when a secret is revealed.

  5. June 8, 2017, 11:24 am   /  Reply

    From a recovery program’s perspective, I’ve often heard, “Our secrets keep us sick.” Mine certainly did, so when I’m sharing my stuff, I tend to tell everything. If it’s about my family, I ask their permission. I am more careful these days about who, when, and where, but I typically make it a point to find someone to talk to. My experience has always been it’s better to share than to sit with a secret.

    • June 8, 2017, 11:31 am   /  Reply

      Kim, I’ve never heard that statement before: Our secrets keep us sick. But I certainly agree with it. And I can’t say that I’ve asked permission to tell all secrets … but permission wouldn’t have been granted. But I have become careful about who, when, and where I share.

      • June 8, 2017, 1:23 pm   /  Reply

        Oh, I just meant I ask permission from my immediate family. Not my family of origin. Yeah, I’m respectful, but I’m telling that story with or without permission. Glad you cleared that up. 🙂

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