I Believe Some Things Are Just True
Rocks are hard. Water is wet. I believe some truths are just true. Sometimes, the truth appears instantly and follows like the beat of one’s heart. At others, we are challenged to dig deep, like an experienced archaeologist, carefully and methodically digging in the same place, taking mental notes of the journey and then, holding the discovery to the light of knowledge and experience, to finally unveil the truth. In either case, when I am in the presence of truth, I know it. I often cry.
One winter night, I stood in a warm birthing room in a local hospital. A friend, surrounded by a medical team, was lying in bed about to deliver her seventh child. I waited at the foot of the bed and watched the baby’s head appear. I stood silently as her little body slipped into the world. As she squirmed and struggled to take her first breath, the room was strangely silent. When she finally cried out, it was the experienced doctors, nurses, and mother of seven who exhaled. Tears, like gentle rain, trickled down my cheeks. Moments of truth are often preceded by silence and followed by tears. The birth of a child is a miracle. I know this is true.
Sometimes the truth waits to be discovered. One day in February, my mother announced she was finished with chemotherapy, saying, “No more – thank you. I’m done.” Her oncologist told her she would die before Easter. Not until winter turned to spring and lilies bloomed and I stood in another hospital, beside another hospital bed, again in tears, and watched my mother take her last breath, did I know her doctor’s words were true. Sometimes the truth waits to be revealed.
The truth is often less dramatic. Like steam from a boiling kettle, it rises and seeps into everyday conversations. Sometimes, it nestles into the quiet spaces between words, waiting to be heard. When my daughter calls from college and I ask, “How are you?” Happy, sad, excited or mad, she often tells me in the silence between her words. That quiet space, like the silence from which a musical note emerges, is often as important as what follows. We have only to listen.
In American courtrooms, we are asked to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As if the truth were as complex and layered as the earth itself. Finding one truth true on all levels for everyone is unfathomable. Our world of media sound bites the truth and spits it out daily for each of us to digest. Yet when all is done and said, I believe what is true – the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – is there to be discovered where rocks are hard and water is wet, at the core of our beings, where there is birth and death and silent spaces between words.