Sunday, February 28, 2010

Truth Without Artificial Sweeteners

Is it possible to be honest but not truthful?

I once knew a man whose motto was, “I’m an honest person”. He weaved it into conversations as often as he could. It seemed so noble. As I spent more time with this man, I realized that he was honest in so much as he could openly discuss his life but he wasn’t always truthful.

He often told partial truths or by omission, led others to believe things that weren’t true at all. Finally, I questioned everything he said. I wondered if the stories he told were true, partly true or not true at all.

To be honest is to be sincere or frank but to be truthful is to conform to the actual condition of a matter.

This friend of mine, was sincere. He wasn’t trying to be malicious. He was also frank. He wasn’t afraid to say things that might hurt feelings or be perceived as harsh. He was honest, but not always truthful.

Like a shot of tequila, truth, raw and unsweetened, goes down with a sting; but after the sting goes away, the exhilaration that follows a good dose of truth makes you want more.

Without truth there can be no trust.

There’s nothing that delivers insecurity to a relationship like the uncertainty that the other person is being truthful. It is our own selfish endeavors and hunger for approval that causes us to shrink back from telling the truth... in all its glory or horror.

However, when we dodge full disclosure of truth to maintain the approval of another, we forfeit that very approval and trust is eroded as a result of sidestepping the truth.

The truth hurts sometimes. It may mean that life will change but if we say it, if we face it head on, no matter how ugly or painful it may be, the reinforcement of trust builds a stronger relationship as pride moves off center stage.

The people I respect the most are those who speak truth, not a syrupy coating to coddle my feelings, but straightforward truth, even though they aren’t sure I will receive it well.

Truth dispels illusion. It diminishes the inflated places in our minds that have accepted things that look real but are in fact, counterfeit.

To be honest, we gotta tell the truth. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In A Split Second

How quickly things change.

It’s one of those things about life that I both love and hate.

On one hand, when it seems like there’s no way out; when all that can be seen is endless increments of time in the same situation, with the same state of affairs filling the same unfulfilled places in the same life… until, in a moment, it happens.

One minute you’re plodding along, just getting by, trying to make it to the next good day and in the next minute, the phone rings, you open your inbox to find, “one unread message” or you see someone on the street and every moment forward is no longer the same.

On the other hand, when all is well, when you feel like you’re getting traction and progress has launched you toward the spot you’ve been striving for… then in an instant, you can’t get your bearings. Seatbelt check! The world is upside down and inside out. One knock on the door, one voicemail or the sound of a text message blip and now there is a line on the road that means everything is different.

It’s the paradox of the blissful and heart-wrenching existing from the same possibility. How we handle the speed with which our lives change course can be imperative to how our lives play out. 

I’ve been in shock for 3 days.

It’s not my story to tell so the details will remain sketchy here but never the less, it’s a story of change, in an instant.

Dreams and direction on hold for so long that it seemed it would never happen. Months of discouragement and dead ends and then, with one phone call and only a few days notice, the scenery changes and a major shift in life is in full swing for those close to me.

It’s a hopeful reminder to me when I get bogged down that, although, yes, there are times when positive turns to negative quickly, just as fast, the stagnant things that seem as though they will never turn around, do.

How will I handle that?

When you long for change to sweep away the doldrums, it could happen in this minute, will you be ready when it happens?

While I’m speaking about change that seems it will never happen, I have my own story that took place just today.

My crazy neighbor moved out!

The end of an era, a day I thought would never come and I couldn’t be happier.

You better believe I’ve been ready for this one. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Trust The Spotter

The 2010 Daytona 500 was yesterday. 

It’s not always visible but if you look closely, underneath my hair, a part of my neck is red, what can I say.

I don’t follow the races or the drivers nearly as much as I did a few years ago when I could be found every Sunday afternoon in front of the TV with my dad; He in his recliner and me taking up the whole couch. During long stretches of green flag racing, I would skip a few laps as the sound of 800 horsepower engines made the soothing background for a nap… until the sound of a wreck jolted my eyes open. 

Yesterday, I watched the pre-race hooplah and part of the race, mostly for old times’ sake. The commentators were speculating about who would win and what it will take to be the champion at the end of the year and all the other stuff that is unknown at the start of a new season.

Then those commentators, some of whom are former drivers, said, “It’s critical to trust your spotter out there.”

The spotter is the guy the fans don’t see. He’s perched on top of the grandstands where he can see the whole track. He’s armed with a 2-way radio connection wired to the driver and a pair of high-powered binoculars.

When the bad-asses of NASCAR are driving 180+ mph, they have very little peripheral vision, large blind spots and at times, just inches between the car next to them. The spotter communicates when it’s clear to pass, what lane is fastest, when there is debris on the track, and how to maneuver through a wreck when all the driver can see out the windshield, is smoke.

Without the spotter, the driver has no chance of winning.
The spotter sees what the driver can’t see.
The driver must trust his spotter.

When I want to move faster, when I'm frustrated with what I see or when I can’t see at all, I must trust that there is someone who can see all the things that I can’t. It’s the only chance I have of winning. 

Let's Go #48!