Monday, August 15, 2005

A longing to be known -- Post Secret

Several months ago, I heard an NPR story on the web site Post Secret. The gist of this site is this -- you create your own postcard sharing a secret that you've never shared with anyone else -- then you send it in anonymously to the custodian of the site -- each week, he selects a few dozen of the cards he receives, scans them, and posts them on the website. He's calling it a "public art project".

It's interesting -- it preserves anonymity, it encourages creative expression, but it also allows for an indulgence of the exhibitionist instinct. Now we can share our darkest secrets, and thus have something of the mental relief that comes from confession, but maintain the anonymity that prevents any kind of embarrassment.

I expect that some folks make up things and send them in just to see if they're posted -- however there are many posts that are so poignant that if they're true, they're heartbreaking. For instance -- there is a post of a card that is covered in crosses, except for one star of david in the center. A hebrew phrase is written on the card which translated reads: "I'm afraid". Another scanned an image of an IRS tax form and in the place of the signature wrote "I M A Crook". Some are just odd "I stole valium from my epileptic dog." A lot of the cards deal with sex and drugs (which make me suspicious that they're fake), though a few deal with abuse.

The site shows the inner yearning that we have for connection -- to be known in full. To have our shame known and still be embraced. This is the yearning that drives us to the one who knows the hearts and minds of all mankind -- to the one who knows us in full, and still extends a gracious embrace.

Soli Deo Gloria