Five-year-old Timmy jumped and glanced around his bedroom. "Who's that?"
"It's me," the voice whispered. "I'm a secret."
"Can you tell me?"
"No, no, I don't know a secret; I am a secret."
"Oh." Timmy looked under the bed. "Where are you? How come I can't see you?"
"I wouldn't be a secret if you could see me."
"Oh, okay." He checked in the closet anyway.
"Why are you alone here in your room?"
"I had a fight with John." John was his six-year-old brother. "Mommy sent me here for time-out."
"Did she know you had a fight?"
"Yeah, John told her."
"But she didn't know before that? Don't mommies know everything?"
A thrill of fear tumbled in his tummy. He hadn't thought of that. "I don't know."
"Well, that's a secret: mommies don't know everything. And, now that you know the secret, there's all kinds of stuff you can do, if you're real careful and don't let Mommy catch you."
"Yes." The secret was quiet for a moment. "I'll bet you've got a secret." Timmy shook his head. "Oh yes you do. Aren't you mad at John? Isn't there something you'd like to do to get him back for getting you in trouble?"
Timmy considered that. "Uh-huh," he nodded.
"There, that's your secret. Just take your time and figure out what to do. And be careful; you don't want to give away your secret."
"Uh-uh. I'll be careful, I promise."
"Way to go. Let's see what you can do."
"Yeah, 'bye." Timmy got up onto his bed and lay there, thinking about what he would like to do to his brother once his time-out was over.
After supper, he saw John head down to the rec room alone. Feeling oddly cold, he clenched his fists, ready to do what he had planned. However, Grampa noticed him as he cut through the livingroom.
"Hey there, Timmy," said Grampa. "You doing okay?"
Timmy felt scared. "Uh-huh." He wanted to run and hide.
"Hmm." Grampa gave him a hard stare. "Come over here," he said, waving a hand to get him to come near.
Timmy hesitated, then stepped closer.
"That's my boy," said Grampa, lifting him onto his lap. "You know, unless I'm wrong, and I'm not wrong very often, I'd say you're hiding a secret."
Timmy flinched in surprise. "What?"
He smiled knowingly. "Yes, a dirty little secret. Now, I don't know what it told you, but I can tell that you heard one, and you're hiding it."
"Oh." Timmy felt a rush of guilt and confusion.
"Don't be scared. You can tell your old Grampa what it said."
His resolve crumbled. "Umm, it said that mommies don't know everything."
Grampa smiled. "That's right; they don't, and neither do grampa's ..." Timmy started at that, "... or daddies, or teachers, or anybody." He pointed his finger upward. "Except God; he knows everything."
"Oh." He felt a little better knowing that the secret about mommies wasn't such a big deal.
"Now, dirty little secrets have their own secret, and I'll tell you what it is." Timmy nodded, curious. "What they want you to do is hide your dirty secrets, ones like how mad I'll bet you are at your brother because of that fight you had with him earlier."
Timmy was in awe; Grampa had him figured. He asked, "Is it bad keeping secrets like that?"
"Well, what happens if you eat poison?"
Timmy made a yukkie face and said, "It makes you sick."
Grampa chuckled. "It sure does. And, just like poison, dirty little secrets can make your heart sick."
"If your heart's sick, you feel cold and sad, and if you've got a dirty secret about somebody, it's hard to like them any more."
"Oh." He thought about what he had felt about John. "What can I do if I got a dirty little secret?"
"The best thing is to tell the secret to God so it isn't a secret any more. Then you can promise him not to do what was in that secret, and God'll help you keep your promise. Even I hear dirty little secrets sometimes, and that's what I do."
Timmy giggled at the thought of his grandfather hearing dirty little secrets. "Okay." Deciding that he didn't want a sick heart, he slipped off of Grampa's lap and said, "That's what I'll do too."
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