Let me attempt to set the mood here. Because I am a sucker for futility.
What you are about to read is a simple explanation of my beliefs. It’s not a defense against or an attack on any beliefs that may be different from my own. I am neither angry nor hellbent on conversion. This is about me sharing and clarifying my own perspective.
/disclaimer that may or may not do any good.
I’ve gotten a lot some slack about my belief that my brother’s decision to tell the truth, the whole truth, was a good thing. Some of that disagreement has come from people whose opinions I respect a great deal, and some of it has come from “anonymous” people whose opinion I have a very hard time valuing – because I’m kind of funny about respecting shadows.
How could anyone question whether honesty is a good thing?
Well, in this particular case, complete honesty could potentially mean that both parents of an unborn child are now facing criminal charges. It makes sense to question whether it is best for any child to suffer through a life with both parents in jail. Of course that makes sense. As I told one reader who questioned me directly right here on this blog (which takes guts that I admire, by the way), these are valid concerns.
And still, I stand by my belief that, in the end, only good can come from honesty.
Unfortunately, we don’t always know when or how “the end” will show up. And because we don’t know, we do our best to use our own human and limited understanding of the world to predict the future.
We, all of us, avoid the truth from time to time because we are certain that it will cause us pain. We tell ourselves that it’s for the best. We imagine the consequences to be more than what we can bear, more than what is fair or good or right for ourselves and the people we care most about.
I know, because I’ve done it.
I have held on to secrets because “no good could come from telling the truth now.” I have lied to my husband about little things and very big things, sometimes for years, because I was absolutely certain that the truth would destroy my marriage and my family. There was simply no way that I could foresee how a painful truth could be good for any of us.
I was wrong.
In the end, the lies and secrets damn near destroyed us. It was, ironically, the most painful truths that saved us. In one month, Jared and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary. It will be bittersweet, knowing how close we nearly came to missing it and how tainted some of those years we’ve shared have been. But it will come, just the same, and we will celebrate it with a closeness and openness that neither of us could have even begun to imagine a year ago.
I had to learn about truth the hard way, unfortunately. It was no act of courage or faith on my part that brought truth into our life; but it came just the same, and I’m grateful for it.
My brother, on the other hand, displayed more bravery and faith than I was ever able to when he spoke his truth. (And how is THAT for some irony?) He told the truth despite the fact that the only consequence he could imagine was even more pain. He told the truth without a scrap of earthly evidence that it would lead to any good.
He did it, instead, in faith.
The word faith undoubtedly carries with it a heavy religious connotation. And rightly so.
My belief in honesty, and in this case, Jay’s, is undeniably tied to my faith that God will take care of us.
I believe that God has a plan for me, and for you, and for Jay. I believe that God can dream much bigger than I can. I believe that my own understanding of what is good and best for me is limited compared to what God knows about happiness. I believe that God can see “the end” much more clearly than I can, and I have faith that that “end” will be better than anything my cynical mind can possibly imagine.
But it’s not enough for God to simply have a plan for us. I believe that it is, unfortunately, our job to walk along the path that’s set before us. We have to make choices every step along the way. And good Lord it can be hard sometimes to make the right choice.
Sometimes we simply can’t tell the difference between the right choice and the wrong choice. Other times, we are simply too weak or selfish or scared or uncontrollably human. And so we step off that path, and we do our very best to hack through the wilderness and make our own way, convinced that we can still end up in a good place through our own will and intelligence and manipulation of our destiny.
And maybe we do. Maybe, if we are incredibly lucky, we end up somewhere that is good enough through sheer willpower. But I believe that those good enough places pale in comparison to what is waiting for us at the end of the paths that God makes for us.
I believe that every time we step off the right path, God is already clearing another one for us, a way out of the wilderness and towards something better than good enough. I believe there are an unlimited amount of paths to numerous better than good enough end places. There will always be new choices for us to make, choices that can lead us towards or away from those cleared paths. I believe that hope, forgiveness and redemption spring eternal.
I do not believe that it is God’s intention for us to wander blindly through the wilderness. I don’t think He’s screwing with us for sport, watching us grope about in the dark while He cackles “Guess! Guess! I’ve made a clear path for you, see if you can find it!” I believe that He gives us maps and roadsigns to show us the way.
And then He gives us the freewill to completely ignore all those signs. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of that. Also, I prefer big, blinking neon signs to maps AND a clear picture of where I’m going, thank you very much. I have tried many times to convince God that if He would just let me know what’s at the end of the road, I would happily stick to the path. I think His response is usually something about faith and trust and me not being so controlling and blah blah blah.
As much as I try to ignore it, I believe, I know, that honesty is the choice that God has asked me to make every single time. On that, I believe, He has always been clear.
I have no idea what’s in store for Jay now. Nor do I know what is next for anyone else he may have implicated when he told the truth. I don’t know what life will look like for my niece or nephew. But I am comforted by the fact that God does. I am comforted by my belief that Jay’s most recent choice has been towards the cleared path instead of away from it. The relief that he described to me is confirmation, for me, of that belief.
I’m aware that these are not universal beliefs. I know that to some this may seem like a primitive way of thinking. Others will discount me as naive, and still others will continue to doubt my sincerity and true intentions. And, perhaps, some will go so far as to delight in the knowledge that I, too, have failed miserably to live up to these principles I claim to hold so dear.
I’m OK with that – or at the very least, I’m working on being OK with that.
This is my truth. This is where I find my peace.