My oldest son and I have gotten to spend a lot of time together recently. He had to quarantine from school for a week from a possible COVID exposure. Since then we have spent a lot of time driving back and forth to various ball fields. As we were driving back from a flag football game this weekend, I looked over at him and thought for a minute about all the great time we’ve had together recently. I put my hand on his head and started to say to him what was on my mind, which was that our time together had been so special, and that as he grows up, I hope we can still get to spend special time like this.
But for some reason the words didn’t come out. Try as I might, nothing would come out, except tears. Eventually I was able to mutter something to the effect of what I was thinking, but I am not sure how much made it through.
When we think about what it means to tell the truth, we usually get caught up in meaning that we need to tell the facts. Facts are immensely important. With our kids and with our politics, we’ve got to be able to operate in an environment of trust based on facts. But truth and telling the truth in our own lives goes a lot deeper than facts.
It's not every day or every week, even, that I have to pause before I speak because the words I am trying to say are striking at a place deep inside me and getting at something that affects me on an emotional level. Yet those words that are the hardest to say are the words of deepest truth in my life. Raising kids and knowing that, if I do it right, they will grow up and live independent from me is as deep a truth as there is for me as a father. It’s not something I think about every day, but it’s as big a part of my life as anything ever will be. Telling my wife, my kids, my mom, and my close friends that I love them is telling my deepest truth that I have. It is not something to be taken lightly. Putting myself in a mindset to be open to the magnitude of that is life-giving to me and to them, even if I don’t go to that place when I speak that truth as often as I should. Of course, this works the other way as well. Naming aloud that you are depressed or grieving or in an unhappy relationship can be terrifying yet absolutely liberating in terms of being able to move through and heal a brokenness.
What are the truths at the heart of your life? What matters more than anything? What and who are your purposes, what is causing you suffering, what is it about this life that makes it the most worth living to you? I hope you can spend time reflecting on these and naming them. Tell your truth to yourself, and tell your truth to those who are important in your life. Choke up, blabber through it if you have to, but touch base with your truth and tell it.
Nathan Dickson is an attorney with Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.