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  • Writer's picturedavidauten


Not everything is meant to be spoken. Not everything is meant to be shared. Secret places within us where outer eyes have never peered are precious aspects of our interiority, a veiled inner universe of thought, feeling, and history imbuing the quality of presence we bring to bear in our relationships. If everything inside us were exposed, though impossible, there would be no mystery left in meeting with another. Conversation would be perfunctory. Connections would be devoid of the possibility of intimacy, for everyone would already know everything about one another. Community as such would be little more than a stale collection of plainly stated personalities, the joys of interpersonal discovery a figment of the imagination. Our secrets save us from such a fate. Confession may bring healing to a soul at times. But our silent, shadowed selves are a gift often taken for granted. Whether it be an unrealized longing or dream, some source of shame or new insight, it may be best at times to quietly treasure up these things in the heart. There, in the darkness, truth unseen finds time and space to germinate, suffusing the soul with an interesting array of abundance that anoints our future interactions though the underlying source remains cloaked. When we are shy about sharing a vital detail of our lives, it is good to remember hesitancy is not always a matter of undeveloped vulnerability. Shyness is soul care, at times an essential safeguarding of a wealth within too valuable for just any eyes to behold, or behold too soon. This instinct toward conservation of the wild and private aspects of our inner landscape is not to be ignored. Caring for the complexity of character may mean covering cherished inner elements of one’s ethos seeded in the dark soil of the soul that are not ready for the light of day. If these elements are unveiled prematurely, or some at all, there is a sense of self-betrayal and embarrassment, as if suddenly nude through an ill-conceived uncovering. Stewardship of self includes thoughtful discernment of what and to whom we share the deep intimacies of our being. Such stewardship is not only about holding back aspects of self. It is about holding close a word, a knowing, a memory, a passion, and with such care as to allow these inward luminaries to color us with their distinguished and distinctive light. As much as holding within a dark grievance crying out for confession can cause existential illness, light within held close warms the soul and nurtures presence. Growing awareness of this clandestine dimension within every soul engenders natural curiosity, nurtures authentic community, and can deepen our respect for the dignity, difference, and autonomy of the individual. We may also discover new spring in our step as we increasingly realize, wherever we go, with whomever we interact, we all have secrets, some of which are ready to be revealed.


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