I meet another senior yesterday. For a refreshing change, our conversation was detailed and candid. Towards the end of our double the planned time session, I offered a compliment.
“It is encouraging to have a candid discussion. Too often, we only talk about good news. I know some see me as a messenger of doom. Your words remind me that realism is a solid foundation for hope.”
“I decided early on that I needed to always tell the truth the best way I knew how. If I did not, then I was part of the problem and not the solution.”
It is not an easy role to accept. It is risky. It is only lonely. It is also a call to More.
If I had one “gift” I could impose on my communities, it would be gift of being candid. As it is, I do not know what I do not know. I am not sure what s/he understands or is missing. Windows of opportunity may be present, however one or both of us are unable to move into action because of our lack.
At times, my frustration boils over. I forget the plot. I lose sight of the real objective. My arrogance spills out. First the words form in my head; “These people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears so they won’t have to listen; They screw their eyes shut so they won’t have to look, so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them.” (Acts 28.27)
In my best moments, I remember. I can only help if we are in conversation. I can only make a difference if we are starting from a position of trust. I can only act if others are willing to let me touch their life.
There are moments where candor is the missing ingredient. There are other parts of the recipe – compassion, mercy, empathy, solidarity, and being present.
Our conversation ended with the following exchange.
“I am no sure how I can help.”
“You already have. Let’s keep the conversation going.”