Truth

I took one of those quizzes like you do that spins a little circle around and then somehow reads the very depths of your soul and comes up with an answer to an intriguing question in thirty seconds or less.

Ahem.

The question was “What is your word for 2016?”  I took it, shrugging and laughing.  I had already chosen MY WORD for the year, but sure, why not?  So I hit the button and off it spun and then–there was my word.

Truth.

Sure.  Okay.  Whatever.

My word/phrase is so much better.  I moved on and didn’t think about it again.  Until yesterday.  And today.

Truth.

And it has become apparent how much this word is already playing into my journey, just seven days into the New Year.

It has also become apparent how much people work not to be transparent. It’s not NOT telling the truth, it’s just keeping the truth under wraps.  So yes, not being truthful.

Oh, for the love.

Perhaps it’s the stage of life I’m in, but I’m really tired of all the cloak and dagger, undercover, in the back room, under the table, under the cover of darkness stuff that goes on.

It’s everywhere.  And I’m just as guilty as the next person.

We work to keep from being transparent.  It starts with our insecurities and worries and fears.  We mustn’t, we can’t, let anyone see them.  We aren’t even comfortable telling folks we care because what if they don’t reciprocate or what if we get hurt or what if we go out on a limb and then…..nothing…..

Yes.  There will be pain.

But what if there isn’t?   What if those feelings are returned?  A thousandfold?

We aren’t comfortable telling someone about the mistakes we made.  Mistakes of commission or omission–we are terrified of saying “Hey, look, I was trying my best, but it just didn’t work out, and here’s what happened, and I’m sorry, and I will work to do better and to make amends,” because what if the people we share this with are only seeking to condemn and point fingers and get revenge for all that has happened…..

Yes.  It could end up badly.

But what if it doesn’t?  What if there’s forgiveness?  Grace?

We aren’t comfortable being truthful because we worry that others might shudder when they see our flaws, our wrinkles, the ugly bits of us that we think are best left untouched and hidden away forever.  We are so scared of someone seeing the real us, because they might recoil in horror.

It would be devastating.

But what if they don’t?  What if there’s acceptance?  What if we find a kindred spirit?

The truth is one of the scariest things out there.  It can take our stories from merely entertaining to provoking and hard and inspiring and broken and powerful and life-changing and something really beautiful.  It can take a relationship that is good and make it the best.  It can turn a mistake into a learning opportunity and a space to heal and make something even stronger.

The truth can destroy doubts and questions and anxieties and loneliness and pain and worry with a single blow.

Taylor Swift  (y’all know I think she’s a philosopher) wrote: “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

She’s right.  We don’t.  But when we have the courage to speak the truth, we know that we are putting our whole selves out there–the good, the bad, and the ugly–and we are opening the door for the possibility of healing, acceptance, grace, and love.

I’m all about opening some doors, y’all.  Let’s open some together.  Y’all in?

Truth.  Huh.  Who knew that little thirty second quiz could pack such a powerful punch?

Love to all.

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Honk Less. Seek More.

This afternoon I stood outside visiting with another volunteer and friend at the Daybreak Shelter during the family style picnic we go to each week.   One of our friends came up and started a conversation.

“See that grass?” he asked, pointing at the newly laid sod.  I nodded.  “Yeah, if they had put fertilizer on it right before that big rain the other day, it would be taking off about now.  But they didn’t.  And look at it.”

I thought for a second.  “You mean some 10-10-10?” I asked.

He continued.  “Yeah, that’s right.  That sure would have helped.  See if they put that on there, it would really grow.”

I kicked my shoe on the sidewalk, trying to figure out how to phrase what I wanted to say.  I tried to speak gently.  “I’m afraid you’re telling the wrong person about this.  Is there someone you could tell that could make it happen?”

He laughed.  “No.  No one will listen. Besides it’s too late.  The rain is over.  It’s just going to take a long time now.”  He continued to bemoan the fate of the new grass.

How many times do we do this?  Tell everyone but the one we should about our problems or issues or concerns.  Everyone but THE one who could do something.

I did not want to write this tonight.  But it has been all my mind ever since.

Why?

Because I am guilty.

GUIL-T.

I don’t fault others or myself for talking things through with someone.  Not at all.  It is important to have a good sounding board, someone who will listen and make suggestions on how you could best handle a situation.  But in the end?  The only way to resolve it and to make things happen is to address it with the other person or people who COULD make a change.  (You getting all this, Tara?  Um yeah, I’m writing it down.)

I remember talking a situation over with Daddy a few years ago.  Numerous times.  The same old thing.  And, after several conversations, his response was pretty much, “Why are you telling me all this?  I can’t do anything about it.”  Finally I got his point.  He couldn’t.  But I could.

Daddy was right.  Too often we do just what my friend was doing. We hem and haw about something that is going on, but when it comes down to it, we do not ACT.  How many times do we complain about a work situation with everyone but the person in charge?  How often do we put our concerns aside, thinking it is too late or our voice won’t matter? How many times do we feel our heart breaking over the plight of a group of people, but tell ourselves no one will listen?

Listen.  I know.  I am guilty of this, but I also know I have to stop.  The grass is greener on the other side because someone saw a need and didn’t just talk about it; they acted.  If we are going to change the world, our communities, our neighborhoods, our homes, our RELATIONSHIPS–if we are going to stand for justice and the well-being of ourselves and others, we have to stop just talking about it.  We have to go to the folks who can either take action or help US to do so.

I saw this picture of a great bumper sticker the other day.   I love this.

This.  Yes.

This. Yes.

I think I will stick this to my mirror.  So I can remember and recommit every morning–I’m going to quit honking so much, and I.  Will.  Act.

Tonight I’m thankful for my Daddy who empowered me to go to the source, who taught me I could do anything I set my mind to, and who helped me to have confidence in approaching someone with a concern, a plan, a dream.  I am thankful for friends and family who dream with me, who listen to me “honk,” and who then hold me accountable to do the seeking, to act.  Most of all, I am thankful for this gift of grace, that tomorrow I can start anew, with the commitment to honk less, seek more.   This.  Yes, I think so.  Y’all in?