I just watched this movie, The Way, with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez playing a father and son (perfect casting, if you ask me). 😉
While I admit to having a bit of wanderlust, I can’t say I’m ‘lost’ or understand what the father was going through entirely (beyond the worst kind of grief a parent should ever have to go through), but what the son said… “it’s out there, and I need to see it”… that I get.
I think there’s a difference between 1) wanting to see what’s out there because you’re not sure why you’re where you are, and 2) wanting to see what’s out there because ‘holycarp, it’s out there!’
One of the things that really struck me about the characters was that they had all set out on this ‘quest’, this ‘pilgrimage’, this very demanding trek that each person begins with a reason – a purpose for choosing to do so – and every single one of them couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be honest about their reason for committing to this task. They spent a great deal of time with one another, traveling together, lodging together, dining together, pit stopping together, facing challenges and the rest of the world together… yet, they weren’t being honest together.
What struck me about the lack of honesty was that… it wasn’t unusual. We do this in our everyday lives. We do this with our families, our friends, our roommates, our companions, and our coworkers and we think it’s normal. It’s not. It’s typical, but that doesn’t make it normal. And it definitely doesn’t make it practical.
We, as human beings, crave certain things from the world around us. We crave acceptance. We crave understanding. We crave unconditional love. We crave loyalty. We crave a feeling of significance. But how do we actually accept any of the things we crave from others, if they aren’t allowed to know us – to know what makes us tick, to know about our sorrow, to know what we’re striving to correct, to know what keeps us up at night, to know what we hope and dream of doing, of being?
There is no greater gift that one can give or receive than one human being fulfilling a need for another, freely. I’m privileged to see this sort of action all the time, and it’s a beautiful thing, but it can only happen if one is aware of a need that can be fulfilled. In some sort of desperate attempt at self-protection, we’re stripping away the opportunity for something wonderful – the very kind of things we crave – and the people we know and love are denied the ability to do something for us that they would truly love to do, freely.
Honesty isn’t just the best policy.
The truth won’t only set you free.
It’s also the only thing that can liberate you, eliminate the vast majority of the stress you cause yourself, provide the opportunity for truly meaningful relationships, and be the catalyst for fulfilling more of your needs, hopes, and dreams, than you could ever fulfill on your own.
Doing anything less is self-sabotage.
Be good to yourself, be good to the people in your life, and be good to perfect strangers who could use some of your kindness. Fulfill some needs if you can, and see how much it changes your state of mind. Choose to be honest and open opportunities for others to experience that goodness, to your benefit. We can all ‘win’, but we have to be willing to engage.
Go forth, and choose honesty.