The Power of the Truth to Heal

I just finished watching Courage under Fire with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan.

I won’t give you any details of the movie. You might want to watch it again….. with new eyes. This movie is such a shining (or should I say glaring) example of the power of these two actions: lying and truth telling.

Lies eat at us, cause us to be self destructive, sometimes they even so deplete our energy that they lead to major illness. Our shame may be so great that we think it unspeakable. But the moment we can speak it, confess our shortcoming, the burden is somehow lightened. We still have to deal with the wrong of whatever it was, but just speaking it takes so much negative energy out of the thing…… whatever it was.

For me, it is so important to have a friend, a confidant, someone with whom I can confess my transgressions. I’ve not killed anyone or done anything too terribly bad, but still I need someone to console me in my guilty feelings. Actually, my friends don’t usually console me, the feeling is more that of acceptance, unconditional love. I know when I’m wrong, when I’ve acted or thought in a destructive way. But the dearest friends are those that will love us in spite of the fact that we are not always loveable.

When I was little, my grandmother was my confidant. When I was in sixth grade, I was always getting in trouble at school. Being widowed when my dad was a teenager, it was the biggest treat to sleep with her when I visited. We’d lay in bed and talk and I’d sometimes tell her about the gang fights I was in the middle of. I remember one time recounting how kids were teasing me about my current crush and that started the battle. One girl cleaned out the chalk tray and dumped the chalk dust in my hair. We knocked each other around, other kids got involved and pretty soon I picked up the water bucket and twilled it around to keep from getting hit. No one could get to me without being hit buy the swirling bucket.

Grandma laid there in the dark listening to me tell my little story. As I finished she said, “Pixie, you’re terrible!” Even as she was saying it, I remember so clearly that I knew she was smiling. Smiling because she loved me so much. Getting a kick out of my childhood antics. Letting me tell my story without letting her love for me diminish in the slightest.

For the most part, grandma taught me how to be a good kid: to mind, be nice to the other kids, not talk to strangers. I always wanted to please her. But when I was taking her into my confidence, she never really judged me. She listened. Her love was so constant and unwavering.

Grandma’s been gone a long time now and good friends have taken her place. Like grandma, they don’t condone what I’ve done, they just let me tell the truth without convicting me. Heaven knows, most of us convict ourselves with no problem what so ever. We don’t need our friends to tell us we’re wrong. We need our friends to love us and help us get back to loving ourselves.

You know, they say you can’t love anyone any more than you love yourself. By accepting us even on our worst days, friends hold us in the light and help us remember to be more kind to ourselves.

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