The truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it. Ayn Rand
The climax of the court martial scene in the 1992 award winning movie, A Few Good Men shows a young Tom Cruise, playing attorney Daniel Kaffe in intense cross-examination of Jack Nicholson’s character, Col. Nathan R. Jessep to determine if he had ordered the intentional murder of a marine at Guantanamo Bay. Nicholson suddenly lashes out with a tirade ending with the much-repeated phrase “You can’t handle the TRUTH!!!” Upon hearing the response defense attorney Kaffe pauses and appears to question himself. Does he really want to expose the truth of what happened in the death investigation of Marine Santiago? After a noticeable pause attorney Kaffe responds that he does indeed want the truth! The heated exchange between the men was a spell binding moment of cinematographic genius. A moment that illustrated how the mere possibility of excavating the real truth can strike fear.
We ask for the truth, but can we actually handle the truth in its scope and brutal sometimes brutal nature, or do we need our truth measured out in small doses? Maybe if we could really handle the truth we would pop up from life’s knock downs like a champion prizefighter, bruised but feeling destined to win.
There is a part of me that believes what most spiritual doctrines teach… that our Creator has a Master plan and that everything works out for our good. And then there’s the unbelieving part of me that really is uncomfortable not knowing where the plan leads. Embracing the truth of my wholeness in the face of appearances to the contrary is hard and I struggle with this. Anyone else?
There is something intentional in this master plan that has us following dropped breadcrumbs that lead us slowly down a path, rather revealing everything at once. My spirit has a way of saying ‘yes’ to crumbs or ideas that on the surface appear simple and benign. In 1980, I accepted the challenge of operating a day care center in West Africa. It sounded pretty easy enough. My daughter had been enrolled in a day care center in the United States, I figured I kinda knew how they operated. A teacher friend created a simple curriculum, I thought “how hard could it be?” As it turns out, operating that little West African daycare center, was one of the biggest challenges of my adult life. Had I known the truth of how hard that experience was going to be and how much my heart would become tied to the work, I probably would never have accepted the challenge. And had I not taken the ride, I would have missed an experience that turned out to be transformative. But of course, at the outset of the adventure, I never could have handled the truth.
I have noticed that as I walk my own spiritual journey, when the truth, as it appears to me, is dammed near unbearable, the Universe provides a brief respite. Someone will say or do something that washes over me like rain and for a few purifying moments I am renewed and strengthened.
Truth, laying out all the facts as plain as day is not all it’s cracked up to be. Should we always tell the truth? I say absolutely not. People can’t handle the truth. If we were telepaths we would kill one another. One of the first acts of parenthood is training children to measure their verbal honesty. I vividly recall my mother drilling me that, “Everything that comes up your throat does not need to come out of your mouth.”
As I have matured, I have mastered, for the most part, the fine art of smiling and nodding affirmatively ‘yes’ when internally I’m having a Mongo the Gorilla moment jumping up and down in my cage, spewing expletives and foaming in the spirit. That, whole truth and nothing but the truth…who does that except in court?
I’m an ethical person and I have an internal guidance system honed over decades that allows me to monitor just how much of the bare-knuckled facts need to be dispensed. Truth for me gets measured by deciding when sharing the truth can have a positive impact. I’m not at all secretive, or disingenuous, I simply consider myself to be diplomatic. It’s a delightful quality that for me, has accompanied crepey skin and facial wrinkles.
Susan D. Peters, aka, Ahnydah (ah-NIE-dah) Rahm, brings a wealth of experience gained as an expatriate living in West Africa. Her memoir Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot, received the Black Excellence Award for Non-Fiction from the African American Alliance of Chicago and the Mate E. Palmer award for Non-Fiction from the Illinois Press Women’s Association. Susan’s work is featured in multiple fiction and non-fiction anthologies. An author of contemporary fiction Stolen Rainbow is focused on the post combat recovery of a beautiful marine captain after a devastating injury.
Broken Dolls, represents her foray into the mystery genre and is the first of a series featuring Detective Joi Sommers as its heroine. The Iron Collar, the second Joi Sommer’s mystery plants Susan’s feet firmly among the nation’s most intriguing mystery authors. Publication date is mid July 2018. Susan is a member of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association. Buy her books online and at www.SusanDPeters.com.