A seventy-five year old man was as unconscious of his age as an eighteen year old. He came home one cold day muddy up to his knees. His grand daughter was concerned. He explained, “I was crossing the creek to see about the cow. Earlier I could jump it clear and easy but now every damn time I try, I land in the middle. I guess I hadn’t noticed the creek getting wider.”
There is always something the matter with reality, not oneself. Human beings are quite inventive when it comes to avoiding facts. We can turn off the television that brings bad news. We might stop reading the news paper that reports the harmful effects of our habits like smoking. We can justify our mistakes and use make up for signs of aging. Or we might invent creative explanations for our condition like the overweight woman who stepped off the weighing scale and commented: “According to this height and weight chart, I should be two feet taller.”
In confrontations between human beings and truth, it is truth that usually gets a bloody nose.
We may know people who change their therapists who bring them face to face with what they don’t like to see or avoid friends who challenge them. We know people who say, “If it’s bad news, please don’t tell me.” Rarely do we find someone who would wish not to be spared the truth even if it hurts and then stand by that commitment.
It is not our fault that we are so. It is just that we are fearful. We can hardly anticipate the freedom we would experience once we face what may be hurtful, unpleasant or scary. That may sound unrealistic and unreachable for ordinary mortals. But the gift for those who are awake and aware is the freedom that awareness brings.