Honesty

I’m reading “Cloister Walk”, a collection of essays by Kathleen Norris, written during the time she spent living in a Benedictine monastery. The book is insightful and interesting and offers some nice tools for spiritual growth and well being. In one chapter, she quotes from a letter that her sister wrote to her after another book was published:  “I feel hurt because you wrote a book and I didn’t.”  She goes on to explain that her sister experienced an insufficient supply of oxygen when she was born and lacks some of the societal filters that most of us have learned to cement in place — but what a marvelous, childlike thing, to be able to be so incredibly and profoundly honest without being hurtful. I’ve been in situations where I longed to say something like that. Don’t misunderstand — I’m happy when someone tells me good news and I hope I am genuinely magnanimous and gracious — yet sometimes there’s a small child inside of me, crying, “Me too, me too!”  This doesn’t apply only to publishing situations — it can take lots of different forms and when someone tells me they never experience envy, frankly, I don’t believe it. Billy Joel sings, “Honesty is such a lonely word, Everyone is so untrue.” In my opinion, this world could use more honesty without harshness or insensitivity.  The man who founded the massage school I attended thirty years ago said something that I still believe to be wise words: “You can say pretty much anything to anyone, as long as you say it with love.”

 

 

 

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