My Mother’s Secret

Every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my mother and I meet for lunch. This year was no different. We ordered our lunch, began a conversation about my father’s side of the family and then my mother says, “I want to tell you something I’ve never told anyone.”

Coming from my mother, a very private woman, these words caused my stomach to lurch backward and the breath in my lungs stilled. The thought, “do I really want to know this?” came roaring in.

I’d say it was a potential pandora’s box moment with layer upon layer of possible consequences created by her keeping a secret. Secret making, secret keeping and secret telling are often imbedded with confusion, tension and miscommunications as well as personal and relational strain.

Ask someone, “want to tell a secret?”  You may see them shrivel into oblivion or witness someone ready and even possibly proud to reveal their secrets.

Revealing secrets can be a huge release and create tremendous relief. Reveals also can cause one to feel very vulnerable… and ….. I don’t believe all secrets need or should be shared. Some have a good reason to stay secrets.

What is most uncanny about this conversation with my mother, is she isn’t aware that Community Choreography Projects is producing, Secrets: Freeing the Hidden Story which opens at the Diana Wortham Theatre in June 2013. Rehearsals are underway to create an original work based on Secrets.

My mother’s secret was very benign. For her though, it seemed in her delivery there was pride in her wisdom to hold it for all these years. She said, “It wouldn’t have served anyone’s best interest to share it when it happened.”

That sounds like a good enough reason to let it be.

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