A handmade envelope, colored with fat crayon strokes and penned with a childish hand, bears the words, “The Secret Keeper”. Anticipation sparks off my fingertips as I lift the flap and tug out the contents of this carefully constructed gift.
Inside, I find a polaroid picture of a duck, sitting on it’s nest, an egg peeking out underneath it’s feathers. There is no explanation, nor any need for it.
And yet, I am struck by something I can’t quite explain. (How feeble the body expresses matters of the spirit!) I feel as if I’m on the brink of a great epiphany, as if I hold a very important piece of the puzzle in my hands. The moment is silver around the edges in my mind– it stands out, it’s important–
And then I see it- the unbridled awe of childhood, the sweet, inspired efforts of young love, the natural, hidden mysteries of a duck’s egg. Somehow, it is all there. It is, in every way, a good and perfect thing. It is the Perfect Secret. Perfect in the keeping, perfect in the sharing.
I can’t say why the moment resonated within me– but I understood it in my blood. It moved me, settled in, stayed. It gave a name to that safe place for the good things in life… those that are hidden in plain sight– innocence, and love, wonderment. His Secret Keeper showed me so much more than a duck on a nest. It reminded me that what is good and right in this world is being preserved by someone. Not just by someone, but Someone. Joy and mercy and purity and all that can be called good, was given form. Mysterious, divine, perfect form- one I cannot begin to understand. It was wrapped up with care and pride, and made a gift to me. Me! And it doesn’t go away.
When the rest of the world is quite awful, when I am quite awful, it’s still there. When I wander away, when I become jaded and cynical, when I shrug off virtue and reject joyfulness– still, there is this gift untouched, even by my own hand. It is a sweetness pressed onto me, an imprint of righteousness that I didn’t earn and don’t deserve, but can’t live without. I’ve been given an almighty gift, a high and holy secret keeper, stitched into the dark recesses of my soul. All that is good in me rises from that place. All that is decent and loving and worth anything at all, is born there. Hatched mysteriously, wonderfully, like a duck’s egg.
And, like all perfect secrets, it is as wonderful in the sharing, as it is in the keeping.
—-As an afterthought, please forgive me for lofty language, for fanciful constructions of grammar. It’s not that I mean to paint rainbows and butterflies with my words. If that happens, it is because my aspirations reach farther than my skills. But, still, I find myself compelled to try.—-