Telling secrets.

“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier . . . for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own . . . ” -Frederick Buechner

This evening I gave our neighbors a key to our house. We already have a key to their house, because we often take care of their dog when they go out of town. By the way, their dog is awesome. Coming from me, that is really something. She is a good dog. Also, she likes me. It could be because of that one time I gave her peanut butter. I’m really not sure. It could just be because I take the compost out to the back yard. She likes eating the compost. And Big Bunny’s poop. I know. It’s gross.

It seems like a big deal to exchange keys. We just got ours back from Alisa, and with all the construction, I really wanted them to have one in case of some kind of emergency (like the one that struck when I was at the movies tonight, but I won’t bore you with that story). And it just seemed fair. Perhaps they would like to feed Big Bunny something inappropriate, since their dog is always getting into our compost. Perhaps we might lock ourselves out at some point. Or perhaps I wanted, in some way, to say that our house is open to them, as theirs has been to us.

When we were looking at this house, we saw the nice family playing outside, and we were so happy to see people our own age. Over the past year and a half, we have gotten to know them more, little by little. It helps that they are generous of heart and spirit, always looking for ways to include people and make connections. (It also helps that their children are adorable.) I did not expect for them to become a regular part of our lives, spending time together on almost a daily basis. I did not expect to call them friends, to share our joys and sorrows with them. I did not expect to spend Saturday afternoons there, to have their help when Mike is out of town, to babysit their kids, to go for runs and pour out my soul, to spend countless hours with them at the pool across the street. It has been an unexpected gift, and I don’t know how to thank them for it. I simply handed them the key.

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