The Keeper of My Secrets

The Keeper of My Secrets

I see my mailman around the neighborhood nearly every day. He always waves or says hello. He even recognizes me when I am in my car. I’ve noticed that he recognizes and waves to my daughter, Stephanie, as well. In fact, he knows everyone in the neighborhood. He should, he has been our mailman for thirteen years. So what occurred to me a few days ago was really quite embarrassing. I realized that although I see him at least a few times per week I do not know his name. So I determined to ask the next time I saw him.

Today was the day. He came up my steps with my mail in hand while I was sitting on my porch. I ventured, “You know, I realized that even though you bring this mail every day and I recognize you, I don’t know your name and you have probably have known mine for quite some time.” “My name is Julius,” he smiled and handed me a few envelopes. On the top of the stack was an item from Banana Republic, my new credit card, which I had not yet discussed with my husband.

As my eyes lingered on the bill it quickly occurred to me that this man knows a lot about me. He sees everything that comes to my mailbox, doctor bills, credit cards, letters, and IRS communications. You get the idea.  I said, “Wow, and you know so many of my secrets!”

“Yes, I do,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “but I promised to keep them when I signed on with the Post Office.”

I was stunned, first by his response and then by the recognition of how many others  there must be that quietly serve me without my knowledge or notice, people who are part of my community, people who live and die in my neighborhood? What are their stories and their names? What richness my inattention has caused me to miss!  I immediately determined within myself to notice and to acknowledge them.

“Thank you for bringing my mail, Julius!”

“You are welcome, Deborah.” His eyes again twinkled a smile and went on his way.

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6 Replies to “The Keeper of My Secrets”

  1. Listening to your blog is the next best thing to sitting in your living room. I enjoy the thought-provoking-ness in everyday life.

  2. Not having door step postal delivery here in the valley, allows me the opportunity to enjoy the air conditioned comfort of the Hanalei post office, and the pleasure to be in good company with Sharla, my post office carrier. Sharla is always good for a smile and a good word, and ALWAYS brightens my day with her smile. Our federal tax dollars well spent in my humble opinion!!!!! Beeg love to you sister

  3. I love this post. So much of our life is built on trust, although we do not realize it. Julius could obviously make some extra cash by manipulating your secrets to his advantage… but he does not. Our culture sadly seems to be devolving into fear of each other. Maybe this was always so, yet we didn’t see it on CNN. I think not. At least not as overtly as the present. I think we fight the fear by kindness, especially when it seems not to be “deserved.” Much of the time when I read Jesus’ interactions with people, I envision him having the same twinkle in his eye as Julius. Maybe in his heart, Jesus silently whispers to his Father that the secrets we each cover would not be so cumbersome if we would open the vault to him in private, and even to give them to a trusted friend. Secrets both lose their power and gain power when they are shared. They lose the power to isolate us, and gain the power to strengthen relationships. I will say, however, that sharing our secrets is a dangerous mercy.

    Thankful for Julius!

    1. Thank you for this thought provoking response! What a great statement: we fight fear by kindness. And transparency and kindness, what a counter intuitive way to live life! Sounds kinda like Jesus :-).
      I would like to hear more about this statement, “sharing our secrets is a dangerous mercy.”

      1. Although our secrets hold power over us…
        over how we imagine our self…
        over how we relate to others…
        even over how we perceive God…

        Sharing our secrets with another brings it out of the dark, and allows them to be studied in the light. Many times just bringing them out… speaking about them… removes their power. Confession… honesty… By so doing, we make the inner life available to receive deeper love.

        But…

        Practically…

        It can be dangerous to do so. It can be costly. The life we have so carefully crafted may be built upon the sand of our secrets. Although revealing them might be good in the long run, it is still dangerous. Knowing with whom we can share our secrets can also be tricky. Can they to be trusted to be generative with them, and treat them with health-giving love, rather than responding from their own secrets and issues?

        Giving our secrets to God… verbally… removes the pressure, yet may begin the painful process of growth and change. God’s love is often velvet-covered steel…even just steel sometimes… yet God’s intention is for our ultimate good, not our temporary comfort. Its also interesting how one secret may be hiding secrets beneath, as with sand. Finding bedrock can be a long process. A life-long process, I think.

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