Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.
At some point I realize I am going to have to tell the truth. The whole truth? Well, maybe not the whole truth—that might take up more space than I have to reasonably write in! But I need to start being honest with myself and with my writing, even in public.
The very prospect terrifies me.
For much of my life, I have been living carefully-crafted fictions, stories I tell myself and others to get them to like me. I do this because, early on, I realized that the real me didn’t seem as interesting to others as the “me” that fulfilled the wishes of my parents and other adult figures around me. Not only was I able to pick up on the desires others had for me, I was able to convince people that I actually wanted to be, do and have what they hoped I wanted to be, do and have.
It was a pretty good parlor trick: I even got good at convincing myself that the shell I crafted was what I wanted (or, at least needed). I convinced myself that, once I had the shell in place, I could hide in it and someday do what I really wanted, be what I really wanted and have what I really wanted.
This didn’t work out.
The true “me” wouldn’t go away, wouldn’t be quiet, wouldn’t shut up. And, since I couldn’t risk cracking my shell, I had to keep all that truth inside.
But the truth is a hard thing to stifle.
If you don’t let it out, it will hound you, drive you crazy and give you no peace. It might even sabotage the creation of your shell, or make your life a living hell even if you manage to get your shell in place.
Because the truth wants us to grow.
And growth is painful enough even when we don’t have a shell.
So now I’m telling the truth—or, at least, some of my truths.
I am a writer and I like to tell stories.
I like to tell stories about my experiences, my thoughts, my insights, my worries.
It would be another type of lie to say I don’t care what people think. Quite the opposite; I still care deeply what people think.
The only difference is that now I am so committed to telling my truth to the people who are willing to receive it, to people who resonate with it that I’m willing to risk the disapproval and censure of those who don’t want to or can’t handle my truth.
Because my truth is what I have to write about.
Anything else will come off as fake, as forced, as flat. And I don’t want that.
I want my writing to strike a chord and resonate, open-stringed with the open strings of the hearts of others.
And I can only do that by telling the truth.
But then that begs the question: do you believe me?
Can I even believe myself?
Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God richly bless you on your journey.