Keeper of the Secrets

There was a time, long ago when I was not so great at keeping confidences. Actually, I was terrible at it. I grew up (like all young women?) loving a good juicy secret, whether it was true or not. And sometimes the details were just too irresistible to check out thoroughly before I passed them along. Whether I could help myself or not, I managed to get a great deal of pleasure from talking about others’ problems and Good Lord, the mess these people made of their lives.

Meanwhile, I was the one later who had a mess of a life going on….

Enter my friends, the ones who I latched onto when I really set out to work on myself spiritually. These friends taught me to mind my own business and respect the privacy of others. It took some time but eventually I overcame the urge to talk about people behind their backs (or to their face!). This was nothing short of a miracle. And, I have to say, it’s hard work. I needed (and still need) to remember that talking about others devalues me, disrespects a confidence and if I think well enough of myself, I don’t need to talk down about others to build myself up.

While my friends were teaching me about privacy and respect of others, they taught me something about secrets. Through their own generous acts of respect, they listened to my secrets and kept them as confidences. This was another miracle. It was a great leap of faith to talk about things that I was keeping inside of me, things that threatened at times to seriously bring me down. But here they were, listening…..and loving me anyway….secrets and all.

The upside, the greatest reward to all of this is that people now trust me with their own secrets. They know when they tell me something intimate, it will not go any further than my own ears. This is God’s Great Grace, I believe, to have been given the gift of confidential and respectful listeners and then, to be able to pay it forward.  I gave my secrets to others and now, I have been chosen by a few close friends to be their Keeper of the Secrets.

So I listen to stories of troubled pasts from my comrades, bits and pieces that represent good (and not so good) portions of their lives. When I do this listening, I am silently loving and praying for them. They tell me their shortcomings and again, I love them anyway. Things they suffer from shame about, things they think no one could love them through… and yet I love them even more. I am not sure why this spiritual work has been given to me but perhaps I am not here to question it. My responsibility is to continue to love and accept unconditionally those who choose to confide in me.

This trust, this confidence speaks volumes to me. I will never, ever take it for granted. Again, it is an opportunity to pay back over and over the great gifts that have been given to me. The gifts my friends gave me so freely, way back when I knew not what their real value was.

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung

Thank you again to Cally Jamis Vennare, for these beautiful pictures!

Join me on my graceful journey.

11 Replies to “Keeper of the Secrets”

  1. Beautiful words of wisdom. You’ve inspired to put into motion within myself the clarity of your insights.

  2. Beautifully said……..!!! To open our hearts to the “gifts” we are given is truly a blessing, first to ourselves, but then to others as we share the respect that has been given to us. Wow, the treasures we have found that are so greatly apprreciated that we even want to give some
    away to others!!! Everyone should be so blessed to have a Keeper of Secrets in their life! A great blog to have us all think a little!

    1. Cindy, thank you for the positive comments. The gifts we receive are so great, we have to pass them along….

  3. Joanne, this is a beautiful post, full of an intimate look at yourself. I think it’s wonderful that these friends came into your life, and totally gave you the opportunity to renew your soul…and you took it which is an even more wonderful thing.

    A few months back I finished up a ‘fairy tale’ short story called “The Turbulent Tongue”. It’s based on a story about gossip my grandmother told me when I was very young. And after knowing an awful gossip at the store where I work I was determined to write the story.

    Thank you for sharing, and for trusting us with this confidence, and for encouraging us all to be a “Keeper of Secrets”.

    Marianne xo

    1. Oh Marianne, thank you for your comment! It was a spiritual stretch for me to write this post. I hoped that it would be meaningful to people and I believe it accomplished that. If you want to ever send me a copy of your short story (is it in your blog somewhere?), my email address is on my Page. xoxo Joanne

  4. Joanne, What a beautiful post. But, I remember you as my best friend, who was always there for me, listening, advising….I know I trusted you will all of my fears, hopes and dreams! – Kathy

    1. You are right! We trusted each other and boy, did we share some secrets! Thanks for stopping by!! xoxo

  5. It is so much easier to be careless with information than to be a good caretaker. I agree it is a privelge and responsibility to handle with care. What wonderful friends you had that showed you a new way!

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