The Unspoken Truth

There is a truth that you know.  Something about the world that is just a fact of life.  No one needed to tell you this; you never needed to read it in a book.  You just know that it’s true, from the long experiences you’ve had in this thing called life.

A sad truth.  A bittersweet truth.  A truth that gives you no feelings of joy for knowing it, but instead a sort of peace.  You know that it’s just the way things are.  It’s no one’s fault, and there’s nothing that can really be done to reverse it; it just is.  And you’re okay with that.  You can live with that.  This silent truth that is as much a part of you as your bones.  You don’t need anything else to go along with it:  no promises of redemption, no proposals of avoidance.  You can be happy with the truth.  You’ve come to know this truth, with all its perfections and imperfections; a spouse of many years that has never been perfect, but then, neither have you.

But why then…  Why then when someone you know, when someone you trust and who’s opinion you respect…  Why when they tell you this truth, this truth that you have always known…  Why does this change things?

They’re not telling you anything new, and they’re not rewording it in a different way; there is absolutely nothing in the content of their message that is different from what you already believe.  And yet, to hear it from them, when the only one you’ve ever heard if from before is the whisperings of the world and your own heart…  It’s different.  It’s like a loud-mouthed friend in a group of friends, suddenly stating the obvious.  It’s like the first voice that breaks the uncomfortable silence during a period of mourning.  It’s like the sound of a jet plane in the middle of a nature walk.  The bittersweet truth is a delicate subject, meant to be handled with care and tact, if it’s even handled at all.  To say its name is to break the spell, like silence; a rock in the pool that breaks the glassy surface.

When another besides yourself states what you believe to be the truth, and states it out loud for the physical word to hear, it brings you out of the realm of the hypothetical, and into the realm of reality.  Before it was just you and your sorrowful, paranoid thoughts; there was still room to doubt.  But now, another believes it too.  And perhaps soon, a third will say the same thing.  Before, it was just “true”.  But now it is “real”.  Now it has real effects; real people really believe it, and real people may even act upon it.  And you weep.  You weep, because you’re still holding on to hope.  A hope that it will get better; that the truth doesn’t have to remain bittersweet forever.  That maybe, maybe one day it’ll change.  You know it’s probably not going to change, and you believe that it’s not going to change, but still, in the deepest recesses of your heart, you hope.  And when you hear the world talk of that truth, and say things like, “It’s just the way things have to be,” it crushes your hope under the heel of its boot.

Never let go of that hope.  Never stop believing in the sweetest of truths, even if you do not yet know them, even if they have not yet visited your door.  If all you have is the bittersweet, even if you’re content with it, how can you ever have hope?  The bittersweet is imperfect; sweetness marred by the world’s failures, and will slowly but surely drag a soul down to bitterness and despair.  Look instead to the sweetness, to perfection.  Hope for the best, not the worst, let your hope lift you up, and let the taste of bitterness be washed away.

 

“The bitter must come before the sweet, and that also will make the sweet the sweeter.”

-John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress

 

{I’ve started to realize that too many of these have been ending on a down note.  Trying to change that a bit, though I admit sometimes it feels a little tacked on to me.  The rub is that my brain tends to focus on the negative, not the positive, even though I know both of them, so that’s where the majority goes.}

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