Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)
GLADYS and DEAN exit. ARL steps up and sits next to THOMAS on the porch steps, he notices the cigarette in THOMAS’ hand.
ARL: You a smoker, Tommy?
THOMAS: No. Not any more.
ARL: I suppose you know your dad used to like a cigarette now and then. Kids always know their parents secrets.
THOMAS: Yes. He used to keep his stash of cigarettes in the shed. He used to always head out to “work in the shed” after dinner. Mom never said a word.
ARL: Oh, I think your mom gave him an earful from time to time, but she’d stay quiet in front of you. She wouldn’t want to admit it in case you didn’t know. But of course, you did know because kids always know the secrets of their parents.
THOMAS: Like the fact that you and dad and Mr. De Haas would meet in the shed to have a little nip at the bottle of Old Crow in the bottom drawer of dad’s tool cabinet?
ARL: (mocking incredulity) I don’t know what you’re talking about.
THOMAS: (laughs) I’m sure you don’t…
Secrets are powerful. Tucked away in dark places, secrets both great and small wield tremendous power over us and in us. And, as with most things you find in dark places, the results are generally not positive.
Secrets are powerful. We all keep them. It’s part of the human condition. We’ve been hiding things since Adam and Eve figured out how useful fig leaves can be. And so we make sure certain things are hidden away from public sight where we think no one sees.
The way things work out, however, is that things hidden in dark places eventually find their way to the light. As Arl muses in the above scene from Ham Buns and Potato Salad: Children discover the secrets of their parents. Parents discover the secrets of their children. Jesus himself said, “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” That is, because everything is exposed to God. The deepest secrets of our lives, hearts, minds and souls are already fully laid bare before our Creator.
Exposure is not a bad thing. Why do you think Frank Warren’s site Post Secret has been continually flooded with postcards for years and years? Exposure can be painful, perhaps. Embarrassing, usually – at least for a time. But dark things exposed to the Light tend to lose their power over us. That’s why God commands us to confess our secrets to one another and to expose dark things to light. In doing so, we are stepping out of darkness and into Light. We are pressing forward in our journey rather than getting mired and stuck in murky places.
So, what’s my secret?