The PostSecret Project Turned Community

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Are we made to be known?

Given how much time I, you, all of us spend hiding things from each other (those pounds I’ve added lately, the thing I said I’d do, but didn’t, the web sites I visit, etc…) the response must have surprised Frank Warren. It all began when Frank randomly distributed hundreds of blank postcards in the Baltimore/D.C. area with the simple invitation for folks to “tell me a secret” in a short, creative way. At first hundreds but soon thousands upon thousands of secrets flooded his mailbox.

And so PostSecret was born in 2004. What began as a local art project, became a web site, then a few books, then a traveling show, and now an entire online community.

Why?

What does it all say about us? What does it say that each of us carries around so many secrets? What does it say that we seem to have such this great desire to unburden ourselves of them, even if to an anonymous web site? What does it say that so many people seem to have found healing and hope by finding that they are not alone, that someone out there has a secret just like them?

C. S. Lewis once said that the fact that we are hungry doesn’t mean we are assured of finding food, but it does mean that we are the kind of creatures that were made to eat.

Are we made to be known? Is this what the draw of Postsecret tells us? Is this why being known has such an irresistible draw for us as well as almost unspeakable terror? If, as at least the Jewish and Christian faith traditions believe, humans are somehow uniquely made in God’s image, what does our insatiable need to be known say about the God who created us?