Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

Lent 17

 

It may seem like we have already discussed this, like three days ago with the post about being authentic.  Truth and authenticity are often synonyms for each other… with one exception.  We expect others to be honest and consider that when they are, they are being honest.  It becomes a different story when we apply that to ourselves.  I haven’t checked every list of synonyms but you seldom see integrity as a synonym for authenticity.  When we live honestly, we live with integrity and yet, somehow, that isn’t considered being authentic.  I wonder why.

 

We can grow nothing within ourselves if we are not truthful with ourselves.  My plants in my garden outside have no chance to thrive and survive if I am not honest about their needs and my response to that.  Our selves need the same thing.  Here is where our gardening to grow a better self can get a bit uncomfortable.

 

You may be surprised to learn that so-called experts do not agree on what truth is.  Even the words that mean truth have varied meanings, everything from unconcealment to steadfast, faith to agreement, trust to pact.  Throughout history, truth has meant that which was revealed but also that which a majority of those present agreed to consent.  In real life terms, truth might be discovering the sun will rise on the horizon at dawn but it could also mean that if those present on the shore agreed that the sun was not really the sun but the moon, then the new day would become the beginning of the night, a pact with one accord having been made.

 

Confused?  Me, too.  Truth is risky and tricky.  It is also absolutely essential when we are dealing with ourselves.  The Greek sage or wise man Chilo lived somewhere around 560 BCE.  He advised us to “Prefer a loss to dishonest gain; one brings pain for the moment, the other for all time.”

 

American president and writer Thomas Jefferson once claimed “Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.”  This is especially true in writing our own stories.  Yesterday I asked you to dream of a better self.  We cannot expect to turn those dreams into reality without being honest with ourselves.

 

I will not presume to know what you have been hiding from yourself.  You know it all too well.  Ripping off that veil of dishonesty can be painful.  Trust me, I know.  I am still in the process so please do not assume I think I know it all or have achieved it all.  I am, as my bio states, a simple traveler on life’s road.

 

Take some time and review your best moments.  Then think about what you really want the world to remember you as long after today.  Do you only want to be seen as dressing in the current fad or do you want to have a legacy that lives on after our earthly visits are done?

 

Marcus Aurelius, a Roman of ancient times and favorite of mine, has some great words of truth we should all remember as we strive to better ourselves.  “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.  Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

 

Only you can determine your truth.  Only you can write your story.  We all have those supporting cast members in our lives and sometimes we seem to lose control, unsure of our next moves or lines to say.  Truth must have trust.  I believe in you.  I hope you believe in yourself enough to be honest with yourself.  I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr:  “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

 

Maybe today was not your best day.  I have had an entire week like that, quite honestly.  I stumbled and bumbled; was embarrassed and dejected.  Through it all, though, I kept going.  I learned and laughed and today, I am better for having lived my worst week in a long time.  There will be another “worst week”; life is like that.  However, with honesty of self, I live a life of integrity.  That is what I call winning.

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