I have a problem that all of my friends know far too well.
I cannot keep happy secrets.
“Real secrets”, as I call them, I’ll hold onto forever. No worries about your deep-dark-secrets getting sold out.
But if you tell me you’re pregnant, or engaged, or interviewing for a new job that you’re excited about, bidding on a house, getting a puppy, or any other happy news and you can expect that I will have texted someone before we finish talking to tell them what’s going on.
Tell me things at your own risk, basically. I cannot be held accountable for sharing my happiness for you.
It’s how I fight back against the darkness. I remind myself and others about the light and loveliness in the marrow of the world. Happy secrets feel like my own personal reminders that good is defeating evil every single moment, because there are so many reminders to the contrary. It’s like an out-loud gratitude journal, a way of saying, “Look! I told you love and good would win!”
This new year, I decided “light” would be my word for the year, and there has been more light in the first half of this year than I could have ever dreamed up.
And here is what I have found, halfway through a year of catching the light:
When you try to hold light in your tight fist, you block it out. The only way to hold onto light is with an open hand.
So I’m opening my hands and arms and heart and celebrating the light while it shines so easily. I’m sharing the light I’ve found and celebrating the light my friends have.
A few nights ago, I was walking back to my apartment when a firefly lit up just in front of me. I’d had no idea he was there, but once he’d lit up, I could just make out his outline against the black of the night. I opened my hand and gently caught him, and he cautiously lit up against my palm. He rode with me until a gust of wind lifted him and carried him off into the night.
I don’t know how long the light will stay or when the changing winds will cast powerful shadows again. It makes me want to clutch the good things tightly, but that would quench their light. And the only way I know to fight against the instinct to close my hands is to share the light.
Telling you about the light and love I have forces my hands open. So I’m not going to stop sharing happy secrets, least of all my own. I’ll tell about jobs before I’ve been offered them, about relationship milestones before they’ve happened, about plans before they’re finalized. I know I’m opening myself up to greater disappointment, more public failures, potential humiliation.
But in the meantime, I’m opening myself up to joy and light. And that’s worth it.
What are your happy secrets right now?
Photo by Neville Nel, via flickr.