Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Truth or Consequences

I was lucky enough to spend some much needed time on the road less traveled and along that road, specifically in New Mexico, was a sign for a town called “Truth or Consequences”. As we drove past Truth or Consequences I began thinking about those very things.

As I get older, I’m becoming less inclined to believe that everything happens for a reason – instead I believe that there is reason within everything that happens. I was raised to take complete ownership for my actions and I can count on one hand the number of times I didn’t. Accountability was not optional – I am eternally grateful to my parents for instilling that in me.

Don’t kid yourself - I have told my fair share of little white lies, blatant lies, half-truths, blurred truths – call them what you want - but you can bet your bottom dollar that the consequences decked me square in the mouth, and more importantly, that I learned from them. You know how it goes. You get confronted, you get caught off guard, and you spit it out – like uncontrollable word vomit – an itty bitty lie. The problem with this teeny tiny lie is that it’s really a seed… now it’s planted… and as it takes root, it metastasizes.

Now you’re terminal.

The truth is, we are all terminal. So why spend time intricately designing a snare of lies only to end up trapping ourselves? Because it’s easier…

Easier? Of course it is… It’s easier to tell people what we want them to know. It’s easier to control the flow of information. It’s easier to Instagram the image, to filter the pollutants, to sweep the dust under the rug than it is to be proactive – we have backed our way into a corner of being a supremely reactive society. We gloss over reality, and like a bandage covering a flesh wound – it can’t help but get infected.

But it’s not just easier to tell a lie, it’s easier to live one. It’s easier to be the person people see in the spotlight than to let people see who you are behind closed doors – but shouldn’t we be the same? It’s easier to settle for what you think you deserve than to fight for it – but shouldn’t we want to? It’s easier to live by someone else’s table of contents than to write your own book… if you’re an invertebrate.

What is it about the truth that makes it so hard to tell? Is it the clarity? Is it the vulnerability? Is it the transparency of having nothing to hide behind? What is it about a fictitious life that is so attractive? Nothing.

I would much rather write my own book and stand my own ground than to hide in the shadows casted by a web of lies… Why do we build the walls of Jericho knowing they’ll all come tumbling down? …because in the very moment where lies become the ‘truth’, even temporary shelter seems comforting.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself at the intersection of Truth or Consequences the high road will be more appealing. If it is not, I suggest a brief vow of silence. I believe there is more honesty in silence than we are apt to suspect… and if you can’t understand my silence, you don’t deserve my words.

You must choose your words like you choose your clothes… and if you cannot, prepare for the wardrobe malfunction.

Look in the mirror. Question your reflection. Be honest with yourself – you’re the only one who knows the difference. Evaluate what it is that you believe in and embrace those beliefs as the foundations of your life. I do not expect every human being to feel and act upon the same convictions as deeply and as sincerely as I do, but I do expect a certain level of accountability. You must stand up for yourself and the people who stand up for you – if you do not, consider what that looks like to them. The truth seeps through the cracks of the walls right before they tumble, so take every opportunity to build before it’s destroyed. 

A quote from Sue Monk Kid, author of The Secret Life of Bees, goes like this: “There's release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is. You come finally to the irreducible thing, and there's nothing left to do but pick it up and hold it. Then, at last, you can enter the severe mercy of acceptance.”

If you cannot be honest enough with yourself to be honest with others, you’ll find my pity for you somewhere between the end of this sentence and the intersection of Truth of Consequences.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, but just in case they are not, let your trumpets blow.

No comments:

Post a Comment