Discovering the sources of gossip is not always a pleasant experience. I find it relatively easy to accept the new found information if it points to someone that I have had a conflict with or distrust. The real challenge comes when the evidence points to someone that I thought was on my side, or at least aligned with my views. When one gets a series of discoveries that point to the latter, it is as if “these ‘friends’ who hate me whisper slanders all over town. They form committees to plan misery for me.” (Psalm 41.7) It is ugly and it hurts.
Recent experiences remind me of some harsh realities.
Things are not always what they seem. The cliché works two ways. As obvious as some evidence might seem, one’s view of it may not be accurate. There are many sides to a story. At times, truth can be strange, almost unbelievable.
Friendship is precious. It should never be taken for granted. It should not be left unattended. With time, investment, and experience, one’s heart will tell you the truth. When actions mirror one’s heart, confidence and trust follows.
As difficult as it seems, dealing with whispers early and candidly is always better than ignoring them.
I find myself wondering what life would be like if I had embraced these truths early in my life. For now, I have lessons to remind me how important they are. Struggling, wrestling with, and confronting are actions we take when we care. Each is an investment we make in relationships we care about.
The lingering question lies in the realization that not everyone is able to struggle, wrestle, and confront the reality of their actions. Thich Hanh reminds us that as we look in the mirror we see ourselves walking the shoes of others. For me the haunting images trigger an embrace of compassion and mercy. One must act in the spirit of being on both sides. In every situation we can be the difference. It is a choice that comes alive as we use the freedom within us.