“You can’t handle the truth!” Jack Nicholson’s character screams to Tom Cruise’s character in the movie “A Few Good Men.”
And, many days, we can’t.
It’s easier to believe the lie, to shut our eyes and heart to what we know is true and, instead, keep focusing on the lie.
Almost like, if we ignore what we know to be true and right, the lie will become what’s true. And the truth? Well, what’s true is just some old-fashioned notion of our grandmothers that doesn’t fit in our today.
And the truth, the honest truth, makes us vulnerable in ways that the lie doesn’t. The lie lets us hide in the excuses of our wannas, couldas, shouldas, wouldas.
The Pinterest lies, the Superwoman lies, the Facebook lies, the Hollywood lies…
Lies that tell us we have to be a certain way, believe a certain way, look a certain way, act a certain way, speak a certain way in order to be good, better, and best.
Lies that claim our hearts, our bodies, and our minds until we’re lost to who we really were and are.
Lies that take away our focus, our contentment, our peace, our joy.
Lies that we convince ourselves are such truth that we use them to judge and condemn ourselves and each other.
Lies that taunt us, eventually beat us down into submission, and then imprison and enslave.
But, it’s true, you know, what they say… the truth will set you free.
And, always, what’s true and right and pure and lovely has a way of sneaking in. Like the sun’s rays finding the cracks in an old building and illuminating the forgotten corners, truth shines.
In the light of the sun, even the dust sparkles and floats freely.
Truth unlocks the chains and lets the prisoner step into the light… free.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
For this 5-Minute Friday, Lisa Jo Baker asked us to write about what’s TRUE in our lives, to write our TRUE STORIES.
That’s hard, and I’m not sure I can do it. I was just going to let the above be my entry for “TRUE,” but that’s not really my TRUE STORY. And, if you know me at all, you know I’m a rule-follower.
I can take MERCY or words like it and write some pretty words. But can I take the word TRUE and really write honestly about me? I don’t know… because, honestly, I don’t think my truth is pretty enough or interesting enough or exciting enough. That “just a mom” thing? I think that’s my truth right now.
I’m not sure I’ve stopped believing the lie yet anyway. Okay, since we’re being truthful today, I know I haven’t stopped believing the lie. And I’m not sure I know what my true story is.
Yet, I keep remembering that one of the reasons I started this blog is because I wanted to be honest, to be truthful about who I was and am. I think, as women, we need to be more truthful with ourselves and with each other and to stop judging ourselves and each other so critically.
We need to share our valleys as well as our mountains, kinda like – “I’ll show you my scars if you show me yours” and “It’s okay, because I’ve been there too” or maybe even “I’m still there, sister.”
I’m not perfect. Of course, I’m not. But I’m a whole lot less perfect than I usually let everyone see.
And this word, this TRUE, is difficult. And it’s taken me longer than five minutes to write today’s “Five-Minute Friday.” Truthfully, it’s taken me even longer to decide whether or not to post it. I’ve started and stopped so many times that I’m not even sure what the heck I’m writing anymore. And I’ve cried some too. Because, honestly, I’m just not sure I can. When you finally speak the truth, you’re vulnerable, and it’s not easy to let yourself be vulnerable.
If I were to write about my true story for today, I would tell you that my hair needs cutting and coloring, and it’s really bothering me, to the point where I hate leaving the house. But every time I think we have the money for me to get my hair done, I decide we need to use the money for something else. I could cut and color it myself, but I keep holding out.
We went walking yesterday for the first time in a while, and my shadow reflected back a wider me than I had realized I was and that made me feel very frumpy.
My toenails and fingernails both need a polish update. My t-shirt is stained. Both the refrigerator and the pantry need cleaning out and reorganizing, but it’s frustrating because, even after I finally get around to doing it, no one else in this household will pay a lick of attention to the orderliness and in 3 days (maybe 2), both will be right back to where they were. The desk is kinda cluttered right now as well.
Speaking of desks, while it’s only September, we’re already behind on homeschooling because I don’t want to tackle literature. I know me and know that I will completely overdo it, so I don’t even want to start.
And even all this is superficial truth.
The honest truth?
Some days, I really resent the way the mom’s attitude is the rhythm for the family. My attitude and my outlook are what set the tone for our household, and, sometimes, this is a burden I just don’t want. I get tired of the responsibility and the weight of everyone’s emotional and physical wellbeing resting on my shoulders.
I want to stay in my pajamas in bed all day by myself. Today, I’m tired of being the adult. I’m tired of being the wife and the mother.
I really don’t care what we eat for supper. If it were just myself, I’d be eating a bowl of popcorn. Or ice cream straight out of the carton.
And, oh my goodness, do I feel guilty for feeling these things.
I tell myself that it’s good that the kids know how to get their own breakfasts because they need to know these things, but, really, I’m just a slacker mom.
I had plans for this week to be a week of service and giving back for our family, but, while I’ve had good intentions, instead, I’ve been lazy. There are some people I need to text, to write, to call.
My husband and I have not had a date night in months, and I miss it. I miss him. I hate when he works on Friday nights, and I’m home alone with our kids and pets and reading on Facebook about everyone else’s exciting lives.
I also hate being 40 and that I can’t work the remote for the TV in our family room and the way no one turns their clothes right side out before throwing them into the laundry basket.
There is not one thing in this house that does not show the mark of a child or a pet. My almost new comforter set for our bed already has a hole in it. We’ve lived here for 10 years, and there’s not one room that is “done.” And I keep on pinning stuff on Pinterest, believing in the dream of “some day.”
I worry a lot; sometimes, I’m terrified and feel suffocated by anxiety. And, while I know His grace is sufficient, I don’t even ask for it most days. Most days I put on a brave face, smile, and hide behind “I’m fine.” Most days, I feel really inadequate and not quite good enough and definitely unworthy.
When my husband comes home from work and asks me how my day was, I’m not quite sure how to respond. “It was a day?” or “Guess what? You’re married to a lazy woman, but, at least, the kids are still alive?” And, bless his heart, he’s a longsuffering saint that loves me just the way I am.
But does emptying and loading the dishwasher, doing a couple of loads of laundry, playing two or three rounds of Candy Crush, refereeing arguments, finding something for everyone to eat for lunch, and then thinking about dinner really constitute a day anyway?
If we’re being honest, if we’re telling truths, I’m a mess most days.
But, even with all this, even underneath the lies I tell myself, even when I want to hide in the shower and cry, the real truth finds a way to shine in my corners and highlight the good and the right and the lovely.
I know that even when I’m tired of the day-to-day routine of being a mom and a wife, that I still love my family dearly and passionately and wholeheartedly. That’s true.
I know that, while our kitchen cabinets may still not have hardware and the chair in the family room looks like a garage sale reject, our home is our haven, the place where we live and laugh and love together. That’s true.
I know I’m more than my hair or my fingernails or my weight. I’m more than the day’s “to do” list that I never finish. I’m more than my mess. I’m more than my guilt and regret. Even on the days I forget, deep inside, the heart of who I really am still beats. That’s true.
I love these truths. These truths are my story as much as or, praise God, even more than the yuckiness is.
I know that, even on the days I’m wallowing in the lies, the truth is waiting to shine.
I know that, even on the days when I don’t want to acknowledge the truth, it’s still there, waiting to set me free…
And I know, that even though I may already be 40, I have more to tell and more to love and more to live.
There’s still more to my story.
That’s the truth. And maybe I can handle it.