i don’t believe in secrets, exactly- at least not in the idea of keeping them. i realized this in the same way that all great revelations come about. i’m talking, of course, about myspace surveys.
see, here’s the thing: i think people should be as open as possible. i don’t mean that everyone should tell everyone else everything (and, to clarify, i’m talking about my own secrets, not secrets i know about other people), but i think that there is always something to be gained both from getting to know people better and from letting other people get to know you better. it’s part of learning to imagine other people complexly.
for a long time, whenever i had a secret- a crush, an embarrassing story, a grudge against a friend- i didn’t tell anyone. and it isn’t like i didn’t have friends, but i will readily say that the friendships i had looked nothing like the ones i have. i can say from experience that only when i became an open book did i find out what real friendship is.
Jesus said the two most important things in the world were loving God and loving other people.
i went to the same school from third grade until junior year (last year), and i had a lot of friends there. but since that school was pretty far away, most of the friends were as well. my church, however, is actually in my town, and so are most of my church friends. so while i do love my school friends, i don’t see them all that often and we don’t hang out very much. consequently, most of my school friendships are not the deepest, most meaningful ones in my life. i am working on this, but that’s not the point of the story.
i had the experience recently of getting to know someone from my school who i’d never thought worth getting to know before. i’ve always thought of her as no one special, no one i’d probably remember much twenty years from now. and it amazes me that when you open those doors, you can never stop learning from other people.
alternately, my best friend and i skipped a bible study meeting several weeks ago to go have coffee, because there were some issues we’d (well, okay, they were mostly mine) been having. as we were talking, and i was going through the list of problems i had with our relationship in what i didn’t realize was an extremely passive-aggressive way, she opened up. she started telling me the things she’d been holding out on over the last few months. and all of a sudden, everything made sense. i realized i’d been neglecting her when she needed me the most, and when i needed her the most, because i assumed i knew her so well that there couldn’t be any explanations for her actions that i hadn’t already thought of and dismissed. in short, i was failing to imagine her complexly, because i thought our relationship was beyond me needing to imagine her at all. and i think i can now safely say that point never comes.
that’s why this is so important. every single person alive is exactly as complex as you, and the failure to realize that results not only in a loss to you, because you’re missing out on one of the greatest challenges and joys in life, but also in a failure to be able to love other people completely. and like Jesus said, that’s one of the most important things we have to do, as people.
i don’t know if this is coming out the right way. i hope it is, because i really doubt that there is anything in me that’s more important to say than this. but it’s why i believe in friendship, and it’s why i don’t believe in secrets.
i started thinking about this originally because i couldn’t decide how open to be on this blog. i’m not worried so much about the total strangers who may be reading this, because when i control everything you know about me, it isn’t so scary. but when people who know me find this, and may or may not be confronting what they already know about me- that’s when things get weird. but i didn’t believe in keeping secrets before, and i don’t plan to start.