I have a saying, not too dissimilar to a popular one which goes “honesty is the only policy.” It means that I always want my compass’ magnetic north to be honesty. I want it to consistently point towards acting genuinley.
That sounds nice doesn’t it? I like to think that maybe in a far away place and time, someone will jump on to Google version 5000 and punch into the search engine “quotes about honesty,” and there… in one of the top three pages (because lets be honest… who really looks past that?) will be my saying. Nestled next to others that suggest thy compass may point north and lead thee into a land of truth and whole truth.
But in reality? Honesty is a bit of a raw deal sometimes.
It can be awkward.
It can put friendships on the line, and stretch that line really, really thin.
It doesn’t always feel “good,” in a warm, cosy “hey honestly, you look so nice today,” kind of way.
Honesty is vulnerable, and vulnerable is scary.
I am honest with God, always. I didn’t always used to be, I used to pull the wool over his big old omnipresent, all seeing eyes on a daily basis… and you know what? It left me exhausted and tired after only bothering to know him for less than a year. Dishonesty robs us of our freedom, and I didn’t feel free around God – the person/spirit/who-really-knows-anyway/thing I was created to be completley whole and free around, and just like trying to fit into a pair of jeans or shoes too small for you – it leaves you tired. It leaves you sore (they were really small jeans okay?), and it leaves you thinking it would be easiest to throw the whole thing out the window.
Fortunatley, God showed me through… oh I don’t even remember what now… but somehow – probably as a result of realising I’m not actually that strong or tough and spending time with others who are more clued up about the Lord and life in general than I, I reached a point where I just couldn’t be screwed with not being honest around him. (Some of you will have noticed I didn’t put a capital letter at “Him,”… hah! – I caught you too.) Now when people ask me to describe what my relationship with God is like, I always say “honest.” Because that’s what it is – it’s full of good days and bad, and my journals are full of swear words and praise – because I am a munter, but God knows that… and that’s kind of cool that he loves me regardless. Oh who am I kidding, it’s f**cking unbelievavble he does.
When I read the first few chapters of Genesis, I see a God who loves and longs for and believes in honesty. Honesty not simply between God and man… but honesty between man and woman – person to person, one person at a time, regular you and I honesty.
First God makes man – out of dust, which is an essay in itself, and man chills out with God and all is well. God is honest with man, and man with his maker. Then, the Maker notices something… which is a rather incredible act of humility and honesty in itself, God essentially goes “oh no… I didn’t account for this… it isn’t good for people to be alone…” and in one of the first acts of honesty which leads to the reparation of a situation – God creates woman.
Beautiful, kind, loving (and probably completley bonkers like the rest of us too) woman.
Not only does God put man and woman together – he puts them together naked (I can almost hear all of my male friends lament about the “good old days,” already). But that nudity isn’t just as a result of not having money or being able to pick up some loin cloth from the local Target, it’s symbolic. It’s symbolic of two souls – being completley bare around one another, and finding themselves not clothed with unnecessary fluff, but with honesty. Ironically enough, sometimes the best cover, is complete and total nakedness; Johnny Cash knew it – if you don’t have secrets, you don’t have to be afraid of anyone finding them.
Today I had to be vulnerable. I cringe at the sheer thought of it. I had to put myself on the line and risk my pride (my precious, precious pride), my stubborness and my ego… and be honest.
As an aside, isn’t it funny how none of us would like to be described as proud, stubborn or egocentric? However, when those undesirable attributes of ours are threatened, we ball up and send out spikes up like an echidna.
I had to be honest today, not simply with God – who I know without shadow of doubt I can be myself around, but around a person, and if I am to be honest – with people, I am still learning it’s okay to be vulnerable. I uhmmed and ahhed and paced backwards and forwards across the floorboards of my mind… and after a time, reasoned uhmming and ahhing was doing no good, then bit the vulnerability bullet and did what I needed to do.
Honesty is not always a pat on the back or a “congratulations, you’re making the right choice,” and it is certainley not a “no that’s fine, you follow your heart – mine will heal, it’s done it before – it’ll do it again.” But it’s the only way, because when God made man and woman they were “naked, and they felt no shame,” and I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try in my own life to live the same with the people I know. And you know, more and more I am finding that even when living the dream could be only more accuratley described as feeling like you’ve been rudely woken up in a nightmare… honestly is the most beautiful sight to soothe sore and tired eyes.
– Catherine J.F. Sietkiewicz