Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Heard it through the Grapevine

"Can you keep a secret?"  Those spoken words create excitement in the person listening.  What's coming next -- some juicy gossip about someone or something?   Secrets can be good or bad (more often they are polluted into gossip).

When a secret is revealed once (telling just one person) the chain of "Can you keep a secret" enters the exponential world of grapevine gossip.  Each successive retelling creates a different spin or story.  Pretty soon everyone has a different version of the secret.  The initiator who believes the population of knowledgeable recipients is fixed has underestimated the lack of confidentiality in the human condition and the higher probability of an inaccurate account of the secret.

I've always told my girls that anything revealed to a friend is likely to be found on the front page of the paper.  Transparency begins with the wagging of your tongue.  This is why criminals are so often caught.  The secret brews inside them.  The temptation to reveal the secret builds until they feel obligated to let it loose to another. Maybe the sin of pride (being proud of their act) overpowers the initial sin and creates the pressure to tell someone else.

But not all secrets are sins.  There are joyous secrets also.  Good news, secret Santa gifts, even hidden acts of kindness. 

In this world there are very few secrets.  In God's world there are no secrets.

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