They say that the “truth will set you free”. Those aren’t the words that you would use right now though. The words may have been “true”, but they were anything but liberating. Words. From one that I trusted to use the right words, to convey a bit of information. To tell a story.
Think about it like a tight rope walker, with a balancing pole in their hands. It is a bit of weight that is added to one end, this bit of truth. The pole bends in that direction. In the need to level the pole you look around for a bit of something to hang on the other end. Words come like a river: Hope, Trust, Support, Hate, Anger, Resentment. You can put any of these there and you will become level again. How about “resolve”. We all know of the one that is a stoic that simply “stiffens” to withstand the news. These are choices that we can make. The ones that have a lasting effect. At least for a time.
Words. Told by a friend or at least someone respected enough to be trusted. Words that carry baggage. Steamer trunks of possessions. Mention cancer and then you can start to unpack that one… if you are daring. Stroke, betrayal, rejection, miscarriage, murder… these boxes stack up quickly. All are simple words, but it is amazing how much they hide within. Like a spring-loaded tube of confetti, that you twist just so… and everyone knows. Unexpected, unstoppable, powerful, altering, stultifying.
You are now in another dimension and time is different for you. Yours is the world changed. Like a heart arrhythmia that is beating uncontrollably and yet you are out of power. No control. No understanding of how it happened or how to set things right. Yours is the place and time of another world. Creatures speak differently here. Time is counted in a way you don’t understand. Movements are not the same. You need a moment. Sometimes you get to have it. Sometimes you don’t. It is like a pianist playing one song with their right hand and a different song with their left… something isn’t right.
One that brings truth may not be the one that sits with you to recover from it. You will need that one, that is both capable and is welcome, to sit with you. Capable, because they are strong enough to weather the storm of emotions unleashed, and welcome because they care enough to help you heal. They know you will recover but are not certain about the change it will bring. They care anyway. They have words too, but first the listening. They will let the tsunami of your words flood the land. Surging, it will push all that was stable and understood before it, this wave of words is a purging. It is an unstoppable force of nature that only the closest of companions will withstand. It is best that it takes place, to cleanse and remove the detritus of broken dreams. To wash and eliminate the “what if” and “if only” portions of the lies that had built up and taken hold. Like squatters in a foreign land, they reside in places not of their own. And now they have been found and cleansed from the scene.
Liberated? Well, perhaps. Change what it is connected to and it becomes the truth. Liberated from the lies, the pretense and the phony presentations. Now you can have free movement among those that know. Like the freedom expressed in the book The Scarlet Letter, Hester can walk unencumbered by the stigma of her actions. She embraced the truth and it became freedom. Not what she had expected, or ever desired, but free none the less. She changed the definition of the word and also the result. This is the work of the day that you are told the truth. And for many days yet to come. This is what is heavy and what is hard. Pain is the result of the surprise. Strain is the work that is found in the healing. Like any flood, a few days later is the stench and the reality of the thing. Large and overwhelming. Laborious and smelly. Like the battle field of the Civil War the rot and decay are left for others to remove. The warriors did their work and now comes time for the cleansing. This is real. This is now.
Then what? Another sunrise and another breezy day. The sun will go down later, and the heat of the noon day is real. The reality of your reality is like the dawning of a day, and others may not even be aware of the crushing reality you face. The stories of the recently retired that suddenly passes away and the “golden years” are now left for the one that remains. There was a lady I knew with breast cancer. She was 38 and had been through the treatments and remission. It came again as a tumor on her brain. I asked how her parents were dealing with it. She said her dad was ignoring it and playing golf. Her mom was numb and could only talk about the flowers in her garden. My friend told of her only brother passing in a car crash in the year between her surgeries. Think about the passing of both of your children before you retire. Tsunami is an apt term.
Tomorrow comes for each of us. It is not the same for each of us. For some it is the day of the funeral and the grieving. For some the wedding or a new job. The sun shines all the same. The hope of this is found in the knowledge that with time the day will come for the wounded and the lame. Not the same as before, but here. Now. Today. The actions and the attitudes are yours to choose. Hope or anger. Resolution or resentment. The friend that will listen or the one that will confront have the same choices as well. We have all been aware of the one that chose to devolve into a state of despair and hate, and we can as well. Hope deferred sours the heart, says the psalmist. The words of a friend are like gilding on the lilies, sweet and affirming. Time is said to heal all wounds, but that is not accurate. It allows you the chance to learn to walk with the braces until you don’t have to think about the braces anymore.
The curious part of a piece like this is that it hits everyone at a different place and time. My hope is that you allow those in places not the same as your own the bit of freedom to be in the place that they are. That you will have a friend in training such that when your truth tsunami comes that they will be ready to be the one to lend aid. That they will have done the work of preparation before the dark night of travail arrives. That you are ready to help when it is their day of darkness. This is the work of the time you have. See that you make friends. See that you are a friend. Sometimes the winds blow hard. It is good to have friends.
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