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Sunday, December 25, 2016

The truth shall set you free

I've been told by a friend that I am a "truth-seeker" and I was once told that a strength of mine is a willingness to listen to the truth even when it is painful.  I feel that the friend who called me that, shares the same attribute.  Perhaps that's why we are good friends.  We at times differ in our exact conclusion--be it political or otherwise.  However, we each share a thirst for bottom line, a thirst for clarity, a thirst for accuracy.  As an aside, I felt my late brother was this way as well and wish he had known him.

For me, I usually "need to know".  When I can't know, I am bothered.  When I have just 'an answer', but my gut tells me it's not the right answer, I am bothered.  When a situation appears to be 'off', but I don't exactly know why, I am bothered.  When I sense someone is being disingenuous with me or humoring me with an answer, I am bothered.   In all these instances, especially in areas of significance, I will continue to process over time until I've come up with what I feel is the closest thing to truth that I can.  

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This 'need to know' sounds good in some ways, in some ways:

  • Leads to excellent problem solving/brainstorming skills.
  • Leads to more honest relationships or at least a better understanding of a relationship.
  • Leads to solving issues which are vexing initially.
  • Leads to some situations where the truth provides relief.


In some ways, it is very tiring:

  • Leads to uncomfortable uncertainty when you don't understand or know.
  • Leads to an inability to let go easily or get past a problem.
  • Leads sometimes to focusing too much energy on the trees and missing the forest. 
  • Leads sometimes to recognizing that  the answer is more difficult than originally thought.
  • Leads sometimes to pain & a block when/where the truth is not kind.
  • Leads to sometimes being a killjoy.
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When I realize something somewhat profound or a confusion/uncertainty is made clear for me, to me it is the "Spirit" flowing through me.  For some, they may call it intuition or gut feeling.  But whatever you call it, I see it as the "truth flowing through" a person.  I think each of us has a God-given ability to truth detect, but for various reasons we don't use it effectively.

  • Truth can be embarrassing.  This is especially true if we've 'bought' a lie for so long.  Think Nazi Germany where they bought the Hitler's lies until they couldn't anymore.
  • Truth can be painful or shameful.  If we've pumped up ourselves as being a "good person", but have made (and minimized) mistakes, it is easier to keep the lie than to own up to the mistakes.  If we can only avoid the painful/shameful truth, we don't have to face our deficiencies.
  • Truth can be inconvenient.  It is easier to dismiss a problem with a simple narrative or a stereotype than to actually dig in and deal with the problem that recognizing the truth forces us to face up to.  Race relations in this country on all sides is an unfortunate example of this.
  • Truth can have consequences.  Sometimes a relationship can be so broken that facing that means facing the end of the relationship.  Sometimes, owning up to a crime you've committed means facing hard time.  
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Ultimately, I think it is healthiest to live a life in which we are honest with ourselves, others and our Higher Power.  That requires the ability to be open to and be willing to accept the truth whatever the cost. However, for me there are a few things to note.
  1. It is okay if we don't have all the answers to everything.  In this life we won't get a chance to know all the answers.  Besides often times while we may not get an answer to a question we have, the pursuit of that answer can lead to the answer to other questions being discovered.   In a quest to study or understand different kinds of bacteria behind viruses he was careless in handling one of his cultures.  He noticed where it grew mold, the bacteria was prevented from spreading and hence the advent of penicillin and other antibiotics.
  2. Sometimes we will find or 'discover' the answers not when we want them, but when we need them.  In other words, we may have not been ready for the truth to be revealed to us just yet. In other words, it is important to be able to accept a time of uncertainty in the meantime. I think sometimes my Higher Power--God--works that way in my life.
  3. If we are willing to face the truth while we may face a time of pain, we can often look back on it at a point in the future and realize it was a necessary step in our growth or healing.
  4. Not everyone is ready to 'hear it like it is or 'face the truth'.  Just because you are ready to face the truth, doesn't mean any or all relevant other parties are.  Wisdom to know when to share 'the truth' is just as important as willingness to.  That doesn't have to mean being dishonest, but instead can be mean being respectful to the needs of others.  

I guess my overall takeaway out of this is to be open to the truth.  Do your best to remove your blocks from it.  Be open to the good and bad that it can bring or reveal.  

Just some thoughts post Christmas.  A time to reflect on the truth and the year that soon will be.

-- Rich