While I am nearing the 3rd birthday of this blog Yankee Doodle Paddy, I realize that I have quite a few stories in the “draft” folder waiting to be published. Today’s story is one of them. I had planned to post it on a Thursday because that is the day I host the hashtag game on Snapchat called #tellthetruththursday But for me everyday is about the TRUTH!
I wasn’t trying to be sacrilegious with my blog title. I was born into the Catholic faith so I’ve uttered this phrase many a time meeting a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation. And I even had my first brush with a confessional at a young age. I shared the comical story (along with a recipe) on here before. If you haven’t read the post (called A Fishy Story) you might click over there and have a wee read and a laugh. But the upshot is, the older I get the more I realize the importance of truth. Especially living in a world that avoids it at all costs, even creating such things as “fake news”!
I’ve just finished reading an interesting book called “Resisting Happiness” by well known author Matthew Kelly. He devotes a whole chapter to confessions and even titled it “The light is on”. That reference is to a confessional box light being turned on when the priest is available to hear a confession. But I like how Mr. Kelly equates that feeling people have after purging their sins in confession to a newly washed car. There is a bit more care about not letting the dirt and junk (sins) collect in the vehicle (aka human soul).
However, I do have a point to share that is worthy of consideration. If for instance, a husband goes to the confessional and admits to cheating on his wife, does his act of contrition and penance (a few Hail Mary prayers etc) and walks away feeling forgiven, how does this play out in his marriage? Sure he leaves the dirt in the confessional box (so to speak) but I think there is a risk to his intimacy with his wife. Why? Because unless he is willing to confess to his wife, he will avoid true intimacy with her because that would be too intimidating. So there is a likelihood he would put up an invisible barrier to protect that vulnerability.
Sadly, many people have a mantra they say to pacify themselves while avoiding confessing to the person they have actually wronged. They say, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” or “ignorance is bliss” or “”better not rock the boat” and “out of sight, out of mind”. Sure the sin is out of sight, it was left in a confessional. And it may be out of the transgressors mind. But I believe a sin can still reside in the soul and can be ignited subconsciously when they are in the presence of the person they have hurt, even if the other person is unaware that it happened.
Life is simpler when we are honest. For starters, we don’t have to keep track of our lies. When we are truthful, we are open and transparent. Vulnerable. We can be intimate without the fear of being “found out” because our cards are on the table. But if we have to hide something (even a sin that may have already been told to a priest) it will still be present in our soul unless we go to the person we have wronged. Period end of story! Why do people avoid it? Why don’t they fess up? To maintain control, keep an image, manipulate, or fear of the reaction. The upshot is that lying is cowardice!
So subconsciously the aforementioned cheating husband might avoid intimacy with his wife for fear of being found out. He will continue to lie, which builds up more layers of distance between them. I find it very ironic that Intimacy and Intimidating are very closely spelled. In fact when I was in marriage counseling with my ex husband I mentioned this to his psychiatrist. I remember him writing it down on his note pad saying “yes, I see, very interesting”. Coincidentally my ex had committed adultery on numerous occasions during our 16 year marriage unbeknownst to me at the time, but we had no true intimacy in our marriage. I thought it was me, that I needed to be in better shape or wear some sexy lingerie to bed. Nothing seemed to worked. Because what was lacking in our marriage was TRUTH!
The bottom line is that if we humans want to have pure, healthy, worthwhile, mature, and honest relationships, we need to have truth. In fact, without truth it is nearly impossible to have LOVE because to LOVE is to be vulnerable and transparent. So take a moment to think about any relationships that you might want to improve. Chances are TRUTH might be the answer.
There is a famous line from “A Few Good Men” where Jack Nicholson says, “You can’t handle the truth”. Well I think you can. Because it is the constant lying, or avoiding, or half truths that ultimately hurts all of us, and the cost is intimacy with our loved ones. It is also known to cause physical and mental health issues to the liar who keeps it under lock and key. And no offense to the confessional box, but truth is most effective when taken into the outside world! We need to have the LIGHT ON all the time!
P.S. Since I wrote this blog piece back in April, I have since read (and am now re-reading) Jordan Peterson’s phenomenal book 12 Rules For Life And get this, Rule #8: Tell The Truth-Or At Least, Don’t Lie. It might be one of the best chapters I have ever read in my life! I could do a whole blog post on that chapter alone. But this time I won’t let it sit in the draft folder!