Last night I had to have a hard conversation with someone I care a lot about. It was one of those conversations where I had three choices-- I could be honest and straightforward, try to sugar-coat the truth, or sweep truth under the rug and pretend like it wasn't there. Over the last six months I tried the later two approaches more often than I care to admit (which didn't get me anywhere but stuck), so I decided to try for the first approach-- being honest and straightforward.
It was messy. I spoke the truth, but he didn't want to hear it. Maybe I went too far, maybe I was too honest, and maybe I should have kept some of the truth to myself. But, I just laid it all out there as naked as a j-bird. After the fact (and even during the fact, for that matter), I felt bad for him--the issues at hand were not easy ones. At the same rate, I couldn't help but put myself in his shoes. If I were him, I'd want to know the truth, I'd want to know it all-- no matter how much it stunk to hear it, and I'd want to know it now. Regardless of my convictions and best intentions, the conversation ended with curt answers, slammed doors, and me standing at the window watching him pull away. Truth is messy.
On the other hand, being honest feels pretty damn good. Being surrounded by others who feel the same way is a gift and was a gift last night. After standing at the window for a second, letting the conversation soak in, I called up one of my best friends. I told her what happened, and before I knew it she was at the end of my driveway in her Soccer-Mom Yukon grooving out to some cheesy dance music that I could feel through the concrete as I walked toward her car. I had to smile. I had just left one conversation where truth wasn't very welcomed and was now jumping into a Yukon where truth is just the norm. Truth feels good.
At the end of the day, I don't regret embracing truth. Sure it was hard to be honest, and it was hard to watch someone I care for pull out of my life, but I had to do it. Truth is messy, but sometimes being messy is just the right thing to do.
I just submitted this to NPR... After four years of assigning the This I Believe essay to five different classes, I finally submitted my own. Yee Haw! I don't know if anything will come of it, but it sure felt good to write. I really do encourage you to take Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe challenge.