Sunday, March 9, 2014

Let's Be Honest

 Emily, who is one of my favorite kids, walked into my room after school shaking her head.  She had just gotten into trouble for lying and wanted someone to take her side. When I asked her if she lied she said, "I have to be honest, sometimes I lie."  It was all I could do not to laugh.  If that doesn't sum up the paradox of being human, I don't know what does.

I've been know to lie a time or two and I bet you have too. We all want to believe that things are better than they appear to be. We want life to be easy. We want not to have to endure an unbearable situation one hot minute more. So, instead of being honest,we put a pretty coating of sugar on it and call it what it's not. We lie to ourselves in the worst way to avoid feeling the raw, white knuckle fear that being vulnerable can bring. Yeah, it's not just you. It's all of us.

I've done my share of sugar coating, self delusion.  It never works. It was only when I wiped the clouds from my eyes and dared to see clearly that I was able to do anything remotely useful in the situation.   It's that golden moment when I admitted that I was completely screwed and accepted what was in front of me with dispassionate calm that a miracle unfolded.  Strengths I didn't know I had emerged in the space where resistance no longer held hold. Determination took root.  I didn't have to lie to myself anymore. I had what it  took to persevere to the end.  Those trying, hard to bear times taught me a couple of things. Nothing lasts forever, and who we are sets the stage  for who we will be.  I learned that while I may not like what's right in front of me I have what it takes to persist in the face of adversity. And so do you.

 Admiral Stockdale, who  was held in the Hanoi Hilton POW camp for eight years during the Viet Nam War  said, “You must retain faith that you can prevail to greatness in the end, while retaining the discipline to confront the brutal facts of your current reality.”   When I find myself in a trying situation I am  tempted to do any and all the things we humans do to avoid the holy-crap-now-what feeling. But, then I think about people like Admiral Stockdale.  If he can do it there, I can do it here.It’s either fear or love, baby. Lying to yourself is not love, but you get that right?


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