The truth will set you free

"The truth will set you free"

A lovely platitude... but total crap.

Not that I'm dissing the truth, here.  Anyone who knows me has seen me in action, my sword in hand, carving away at the B.S. and "beautiful lies" until left with that cold, hard nugget of truth.  Having grown up in a funhouse-mirror world of lies and illusions, finding the truth and seeking out truthfulness is more than a bit of a quest for me.  And I'm not just hacking away at other people's lies, I'm equally brutal with myself, forever holding my words and actions under the microscope and making sure I'm being true to and with myself.

The truth is amazing.  The truth is wonderful.

But, as you can see in my above metaphors, it doesn't set you free.  It doesn't really DO anything except sit there and be truthful, waiting for you to hack away at the stone and find its beating heart.

And when you find it, it ain't necessarily gonna give you magical fairy wings or sing hallelujah.  You will not be floating above the clouds on a golden saucer with your personal shiny, happy Cupids floating around you.

"The truth hurts."

Now THERE'S a platitude that makes sense.  Not all the time, of course, sometimes the truth can be quite wonderful.  But...

If you had to hack through a giant rock to find that beating heart of truth, odds are that you and/or someone else worked very hard to put that rock together in the first place.  That beating heart of truth needed protection from something, or someone needed protection from it.

The truth doesn't set you free.  You set the truth free.

And then you deal with the consequences.

So now you've found it.  You've left it vulnerable.  You've left yourselves and others vulnerable.  There will be a tremendous fight to cover it up again.  Depending on what truth it is, there may be a whole army of people swooping in.  You may not, as the movie says, be able to handle the truth.  Others might not want you to handle the truth.

The truth may be free, but you've still got a long, arduous battle ahead.

Not that I'm trying to dissuade anyone, just make sure you aren't expecting rosebuds and moonbeams.  You've only completed part one of your quest.  As any epic adventure writer knows, good stories come in Trilogies.  :-)

Part One: You set the truth free.

Part Two: You realize the battle has just begun.  You figure out if you can handle the truth.  If no, put it back, draw a map of where it is so you can come back to it when you're ready.  If yes, turn to page 45... You figure out if others can handle the truth... if yes, turn to page 52.  If no, turn to page 63...  Is this a truth that is ok to keep to yourself for a while?  If yes, wrap it up in a warm blanket and keep it safe.  If no, put on your helmet and draw your sword, it ain't gonna be pretty.

The human brain has this wondrous capacity for making up stories that help us stay sane.  That's not always a good thing, that's not always a bad thing.  Just because you're ready to explore and reassess your own stories doesn't mean that everyone else around you is in the same place.  In fact, odds are they aren't.  No matter how obvious the truth may be to you, as you stand with arms outstretched, holding its beating heart, there are those who cannot deal with its rawness.  Yet.  Maybe ever.

You need to decide if a battle is worth it.  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.  Nobody really wants to hurt another (except, of course, psychopaths), but...  All too often, we're willing to hurt ourselves in order to not hurt others.  In the more extreme cases, we convince ourselves that walking into the middle of the battlefield without no sword and no armour is a nice and peaceful way of solving things.  Which it could be, if the other party is similarly attired and willing to chat.  But walking into the middle of the battlefield with no sword and no armour while the other party continues to shoot guns and arrows and hack at you with their sword is not going to get you far.

Sometimes that rock is necessary.  Sometimes a fortress wall is necessary.  If you've got the truth and nobody wants you to have it, the world can seem like a nasty place.  You don't feel terribly free.  You just feel terrible.

You build up the walls and hire the guards and keep a vigilant watch.  You keep yourself safe.  You keep the truth safe.  You may verge on the over-protective but, heck, look how vulnerable that beating heart of truth is, and how single-minded those outside parties are -- they'll stop at nothing to get rid of it, so you'd better stop at nothing to protect it.  No matter how crazy they say that makes you.

The truth doesn't make you crazy, it's the people who want to get rid of it that make you crazy.

Part Three: You realize that the beating heart of truth is actually your own.  You resign yourself to the fact that there will always be people who want to hide it, to get rid of it, to destroy it.  You and your beating heart get stronger, wiser.  You don't let your crazy-makers in.  You learn to recognize the people who will treat your beating heart with respect, and you stop making room in your life for the crazy-makers.  You slip up sometimes.  A little bruising occurs from time to time.  But you and your beating heart surround yourselves with other beating hearts, and the resulting joy... well, it creates those hallelujahs and floats you above the clouds on a golden saucer and yes, there ARE rosebuds and moonbeams and rainbows.

So yes, the truth WILL set you free...  Just not instantaneously.

As with any of the good stuff in life, it requires an epic journey, a bit of grunt work, a lot of bravery, some dragons and ogres, a bunch of battles, a bit of luck, some trusty companions, and... a beating heart.

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