Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Truth?

Lately I've been feeling depressed. I’ve been blaming it on a whole host of different issues, but as each of those things changed or dissolved away with time, the unhappiness has continued - even grown - until it is the most prevalent emotion I'm experiencing. I’ve been walking in circles, trying to determine what is wrong and why, but the unpleasant truth has been sitting on my shoulder the entire time, whispering in my ear. I have ignored it, denied it, eschewed it, and disdained it. I have capitulated, listened to it, acted on it, and then decried my decisions. Finally, I have determined that I can no longer deny its authority or silence its voice. Truth is truth. Truth is; it needs no explanation, no definition. It requires only action, and it must be acted upon even if those actions cause pain.

The realization that I cannot continue this way has me thinking, and I have come to believe that most of us live in a perpetual state of unreality and denial of our own making. This refusal to hear truth’s voice is what keeps women in unhealthy relationships, makes men believe that they are defined solely by the work that they do and what they accomplish there, and makes teens believe that suicide is the only solution for their pain. It is what enables the alcoholic to drink too much and then drive. It allows the meth-user to look in the mirror at her ravaged face and broken teeth and still go out to buy one more hit. It leads governments to trillion dollar deficits. It leads nations to tragedies like Oklahoma City and 9/11. Friends, we cannot continue to deny our truths and expect our world to prosper or our lives to change for the better.

Let me tell you a story about someone who began having some health concerns as she got older. This woman was having dizziness, bleeding, black-outs, and a lot of pain and tenderness in her lower abdomen. She refused to see a doctor. Instead, she told herself this was normal for her age and she ignored the problem for two years. Then she began having headaches and memory lapses, pain in her upper abdomen, and uncontrollable coughing. She started to cough up blood and finally went to see a doctor – after tests and x-rays she was diagnosed with terminal cancer that had spread to her lungs, her pancreas, her liver, and her brain. It had likely begun in her uterus, but by the time it was diagnosed it was so widespread that there was just no way to know. She was diagnosed in early summer. By August of that same year, she was gone. This is an extreme example, but it shows what can happen when we continue to deny the truth.

What truth are you denying? What voice is whispering its reality into your ear? Do you need help giving up smoking? Has your drinking gone too far? Are you in the right relationship for the right reasons? Do you need to look for another job? Do you need to think about retiring? Those headaches might be more than just a need for better glasses. Maybe you need to come to terms with your eating disorder, your weight, your depression. Maybe you need to spend less time thinking about others and more time thinking about and taking care of yourself. Maybe it’s time for you to seek out a community of believers and understand that faith really does grow stronger when you do. Maybe you need to allow yourself the space to ask hard questions and seek answers. Maybe it’s time to admit that you just can’t do this by yourself anymore. Maybe it’s time to accept God’s forgiveness and grace.

Whatever your truth is, it is time to accept it, examine it, and own it. Stop living in denial; see and accept your reality. Let's commit to living in the here and now, not in the someday/somehow. Truth is, and it must be acted upon if you are ever to be your whole, authentic self.