It’s a secret!
When I was growing up, secrets were about birthday gifts, or what was for dessert, or who was coming for a meal.
We’d pull our shoulders up to our ears, arch our eyebrows, eyes shining, and relish the word: it’s a SEEE-cret!
I’m grateful beyond words that my childhood didn’t have the heavy, ugly secrets that some children need to carry. In my world, secret was a word of relish, delight, and anticipation, and I still love surprises, when a secret bursts all over me.
But I’m not a child now, and there are a lot of things I don’t know. Questions and unknowns are a big part of my life, and sometimes the unsurety nearly wrecks me.
How I can know what to do?
What’s the best way forward?
Why did that happen?
How will that end up ok?
Songs and sayings don’t really help. I can sing “Do not be afraid, for I will be with you” or “Be still, my soul” but the fear doesn’t go away. The anxiety still acts like it’ll choke me.
Theologians might say I need to live with faith. That’s supposed to take care of a lot of questions.
Psychologists could call me to live in mystery, open-handed, and sit with the questions.
I call it living with tension and a creased forehead.
Then I read Cry, the Beloved Country, a story of deep loss, solid love, and unanswered questions. Near the end of the book, the protagonist reflects:
Why was it given to one man to have his pain transmuted into gladness? Why was it given to one man to have such an awareness of God? And might not another, having no such awareness, live with pain that never ended? …And might not another feel also a compulsion, and pray night and day without ceasing, for the restoration of some other valley that would never be restored?
It was not for man’s knowing. …It was a secret.
A secret is a word of wonder, excitement, eagerness. It’s light and buoyant and nothing fearful.
My childhood connotations of secrets have given me a way to think about the unanswerable, impossible questions that cloud my brain. You might say it’s a mind game, but it helps me. It doesn’t change anything except the lens through which I look at the world, and the way I see God and His inscrutable ways.
When I call things a secret, I see God’s eyes shining in anticipation of when everything wrong will become untrue. And the things that break His heart now, He carries in His heart as His own secret sorrows. Pain and questions are not nothing to Him, and He knows grief.
I know that there are riches found in secret places, and that He sees everything in secret, and that darkness is as light to Him. I can trust Him with His secrets because I utterly trust His character, His intentions, His unending love. My mysteries and questions are not mysteries and questions to Him. This is all I know, and it is enough. For now, His secrets are safe with Him.
The sun tips with light the mountains. …The great valley…is still in darkness, but the light will come there. For it is the dawn that has come, as it has come for a thousand centuries, never failing. But when that dawn will come, of our emancipation, from the fear of bondage and bondage of fear, why, that is a secret.