I'm not sure if it is the state of our world or simply my stage in life, but my deep rooted passions have become shockingly transparent over the last few years. All the "fluff" surrounding my words has been plucked away, surprising many who know me well, and perhaps surprising me most of all. I have always been known as the "eternal optimist," the one who sees life and people through "rose colored glasses" despite the harsh blows life has given me. I've always, always, always seen the good in people and tried with every ounce of impartiality in me to give them the benefit of the doubt - sometimes to my own peril.
I can't say for sure exactly when my moment of realization occurred or when I decided to become as transparent as I have with my feelings, opinions and passions, but I must say, it has been most liberating! Being the consummate "encourager" for as long as I could remember, I had the tendency to shy away from controversial statements or revelations of truths that would bring out adversaries who saw things far differently than me. Perhaps it was because I had been "beat up enough" by life situations and whittled down in my self-esteem to where I just needed the affirmations more than I needed freedom to be true to myself. I suppose that is because I didn't know who "I" was exactly. It is difficult to be true to oneself, when you don't know who that person is fully. It wasn't until the proverbial "rug" of life was fully yanked out from underneath me, that I was forced to make one of two choices - begin a downward spiral to destruction or develop strength in the wings attached to me that I had never exercised. Thankfully, I chose the latter. Well not completely on my own accord, because I had the wind of faithful friends and family under girding me, and the voice of God's whisper in my heart to guide and instruct me. It was during those exercises of faith that I found my voice - my true voice.
In my first book, "Journey Within My Heart," I made a comment about this moment of epiphany in my life...
One thing I have come to understand as a writer, is that the words that come forth must be expressed regardless of who reads them, or even if I am the only one who reads them, because a writer “writes.” I shared this thought with my friend Anita, who is a fellow writer, not too long ago. Here is what I told her. “…if my words fall on one ear that is ready and in need of what I have to say or a thousand, I have given birth to a thought that is meant for someone, somewhere or maybe even just meant for me to realize from the deepest part of me.” It has been that revelation that gave me the courage to speak the words hidden deep in my heart and to embark on this internal journey that I have been too afraid to take up until now.
To those who have followed my blog posts and writings for years, I want to say "thank you" for sticking with me even as I have plucked out all the "feathers" cocooning me. Most recently, you have seen me quite raw and transparent in my expression of the world in which we live. I suppose this world has always had both the majestic beauty and the somber darkness that we now experience, it's just that we did not have a global platform that could display it so vividly. I suppose too, people carried a bit more pride regarding opening the closet doors to their own skeletons and a bit more decency than dragging those skeletons out of others' closets in years past. So what does all this transparency say of us? Are we worse than we've ever been? Or is it simply that once the skeletons are laid out in broad daylight, they aren't as shocking or scary? My hope through transparency is that the revelation of truth isn't a window into the soul of others as much as it is a mirror reflecting our own soul. Who are we when everything is stripped away? And what is our role in painting this canvas of life we all share? Will we be the broad brush that blends all the colors of the spectrum into a blur of mediocrity? Will we be the eraser that removes the mistakes made? The water color that dilutes the vibrancy of life? Will we be the fine tip charcoal that blends the irreparable strokes into something brand new and beautiful?
Transparency is a difficult thing isn't it? But it is the only way to truth and truth is the only way to change and growth. We can't deny the ugly truths of the world, and we should not deny the unchangeable truths either all in the name of political correctness. When we erode the moral fiber of who we are as a people, when we point fingers at others without allowing the ones pointing back at us to touch us as well, no one wins. Truth is a two-edged sword. It destroys what tries to destroy us from without and at the same time whittles away at what tries to smother and destroy us within.
Our country and our world has a lot facing us and how we respond to it all will alter the course of the future. In my opinion, our response at this point in history is probably of more significance that it ever has been. Why? Because we can't hide away "underneath the fluff" any longer. We can't believe just what mainstream media or social networks want us to believe. We can't behave like children with an "I know I am, but what are you?" attitude. We have to look at our world, our country, our communities, our families and ourselves with transparency like never before! For those who wonder why there is so much controversy in the political world these days and why people are embracing flawed outsiders above polished insiders, truth and transparency is the reason why. People crave it. They need it more than the temporary comfort of feel good moments. They need to know that they can embrace their own imperfections without fear and grow in the truth of those flaws to be better people for themselves and their world. We don't need "safe zones" on our campuses. We don't need media linebackers pushing back on the weight of truth. We don't need Hollywood elites who have no idea how the everyday man and woman live - spinning their version of reality. We need TRUTH. It starts and ends with us and what we do with our truth to make an impact around us. I encourage you to seek truth, shed the "fluff" and make choices based on life issues not on "feelings." Don't believe everything you "hear." Dig deep, search long and hard - pluck out all the fluff and face life and yourself with transparency. Like the greatest book of all time says "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
In America, we have a decision to make in thirty days that will require looking "underneath the fluff." In a couple of hours I will have another opportunity to pluck out a few more feathers in search of truth. As I watch, I will also reflect and see myself in the light of what I discover and choose how I want life to be today, tomorrow and for the future of my son and our world. I don't want to shy away from what is difficult or cave in to political correctness for the sake of easy discourse. No one wins that way and frankly, I don't think our world can take many more losses and survive. I want to be a beacon of truth - how about you?