When I was a child, my mother always used to say that when tact was handed out, I must have been at the end of the queue.
I feel like this was her less than subtle way of saying I called a spade a big fat shovel!
As I grew older I learned the value of tempering my less tactful remarks with a degree of kindness. Well I hope I did anyway; only those who know me and have interacted with me will be able to confirm this.
I fear I was born with an incurable belief in the value of truthfulness, a trait which at times has been to my detriment; never more so when I realise it has been passed on to my children.
There is power and beauty in truth. Plus it’s a lot easier to remember the stories you’ve told and not get into any sort of mischief. To be a good liar is to have a brilliant memory.
Last week, I and many others farewelled my sister in law, or as I fondly call her, my SFAM (Sister From Another Mister) after a long battle against melanoma.
As is the human condition, we spoke in hushed tones of her death being a blessing, a release from pain, a reminder that she is now at peace. These words served to ease our grief and validate her strong conviction that she was indeed going to a better place.
All of this is true and of great value to those of us left behind who struggle to make sense of a life lost too soon.
However in the midst of this, her courageous daughter, my amazing niece, spoke the truth. She stated clearly and calmly, ” Well this really sucks”.
Which was also very true.
We are so conditioned to trying to make things better, to make sense of something that defies logic, to hiding our pain behind albeit soothing platitudes, that we sometimes forget how to speak the truth plainly and eloquently.
Death really sucks…..
The truth that I know reinforces this on a regular basis. Daily we are bombarded, either in person or through the media, with people who suffer needlessly in jobs they loathe, relationships that undermine them, appalling living conditions, deadly war zones, unassailable poverty, brutal dictatorships.
The truth that I believe is that we need to speak out whenever we can about injustice and unfairness. We are a long time dead – we must make the time we have alive worthy.
The truth that I value is that we need to make our politicians accountable for improving the world. Never more so relevant in this cynical and beige world of sameness.
The truth that I understand is that we must play our own individual part to make the place we call home, sadly at times for such a short period, a place that is brighter, lighter and more kind.
A work colleague asked me the other night, how could I honestly believe that I can make a difference in my interactions with people I know or in the organisations I work with when all they are driven by is ego and bottom line thinking.
The truth I live is how could I not.