We humans are never just one thing. We have different roles in life, depending on what we’re trying to accomplish, our gifts, experience and the many different events and people that have shaped our lives. I’m a Pastor, husband, father, wanna-be-woodworker, maker, writer, musician, actor and overall positive thinker. And, believe it or not, I am also a Secret Agent!
No, not a spy like Ethan Hunt of Mission Impossible fame, and certainly not a Double-O agent with a license to kill (although I am Double-Double agent with a license to amuse slightly). Rather, I am a trained professional secret-keeper. Tell me your story, share with me a private moment, talk to me about which Bond was the best, and if it’s in the context of anything but a broader conversation with a whole bunch of trivia nerds, it is absolutely safe with me. I will never share, reveal or hint at what we talk about with another person if is revealed to me in privacy, or in my capacity as a Pastor.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Well, except for his wife. Surely he talks to her about things that happen and the people he meets.” To which Lois would answer, “Nope. Never. Uh-uh. Not a chance.” What happens between you and me, unless it’s something you explicitly say I can share with others, stays between you and me. Period. No exceptions.
Of course, this does lead to the occasional embarrassing moment for Lois. Sometimes folks will assume I have told her about the funny story you told me about your strange uncle. But, if I have my Pastor’s hat on, not a chance. It will never happen. All you will get from her in response is either a blank stare, or a quizzical “Huh?” or both, if you’re lucky. Maybe you’ve shared with me plans you have for the church, or for some other thing that might involve Lois. But, unless you let me know it’s safe to let her in, it’s your idea, your plan, and until you’re ready to reveal it to a broader audience, I will say nothing. Nada. Zip.
The reason I’m so strict about maintaining radio-silence is two-fold. First, it’s a matter of trust. When you entrust me with something about yourself, I want you to know it’s safe with me. Unless it’s a matter with legal ramifications, like abuse, then I keep my lips shut; your trust in me is my command to shut-up and maintain confidentiality. The other thing that makes me keep your secrets is simply to protect you, myself, and others, whether it’s Lois or folks on the street. If I don’t tell your story to others, you are safe. I am safe, too, because I don’t expose myself to losing your trust, or to drawing curious, gossipy ears into places they don’t belong. Finally, I protect Lois and others by maintaining your privacy, first by not giving them the opportunity to mess up and say things out of turn, but also by not exposing them to any the pain within your story.
So, now you know my not-so-secret identity as a Secret Agent. What stories you share with me, stay with me. Period. Even if it means you get the occasional blank stare from Lois should you choose to share something with her. Better for her to be a bit embarrassed about being in the dark, than for you do be let down by me should I breach your trust.