Encouragement

“I don’t care if you tell me the facts.

I don’t care for me, anyhow. Facts are important, but I think they are only one way of getting at truth. And I think that, no matter what, you will tell me truth.

So if you need to tell it with a fabulous story of you rescuing lost puppy dogs or questing for unicorns, then i will know one truth is that you want to be a white knight, sans peur et sans reproche. And I may know that you once needed rescue, and perhaps you had it, and perhaps you are still rescuing yourself, and perhaps you are asking to be rescued. And I may know that you want me to think you a rescuer. And perhaps wanting will make you one.

I think we all do it. Even if it’s just a case of wishful thinking coloring our memories, oh, only a little bit. Making us brighter, or kinder, or wiser. Making us, in retrospect, the way we wish to have been. Making us the way we wish to be now.

So I don’t care if you tell me the facts. I don’t care for me. Whatever you tell me, I will look for truth in it, not for facts.

But there’s the other side of it, the ugly side. And that, I care for very much. Because facts are most important, i think when they are allowed to become secrets.

I don’t mean any facts, of course. I don’t mean the things you forgot at the grocery store, or that thank you card you never sent. I mean the other stuff. You know the ones. That terrible thing that you know no one else has ever done, or had done to them. That desire which you must not have. The impulse that would hurt your loves, and appall your friends, and render you alone and irredeemable if anyone ever knew. Those big things, and the little ones, too; the cancers of the spirit, the shaming darknesses, the things that stop your voice. The things that make you small.

Secrets grow, in the dark. They grow powerful, and sometimes they grow to own you. And the only way I know to take yourself back is to expose them to air and light. Because the things about honesty is, it’s secret kryptonite.

Well. Kryptonite, or maybe the best metaphor is a homelier one: that of an axe on a winter lake, breaking through old and rotted ice, letting the pure water out into the light.

Telling that kind of truth is scary. It makes you naked. And it makes you bigger.

And the thing is, the hardest time is first. That’s the time you still really, truly believe that you stand to lose everything. It’s the time you know without doubt that no one else has ever had a darkness like this. It’s the time that shame and the habits of muteness are the strongest. And then you come up with the words, and you let them out…and the facts start to shrink. They begin to lose their hold on you. They begin to stop mattering so much, except as facts. Important, but not encompassing.

So for you, I care if you tell me the facts.

And even when you can’t, I am glad you trust me with your other truths.”

author unknown