The Comfort of Kind Truth
In these times, we need the comfort of truth spoken with a kind heart.
Posted Mar 24, 2020
It is definitely time for “the whole truth, nothing but.” It is not time, now or ever, for brutal truth, half-truth, so-called truth, hidden truth, or any form other than one: kind truth. Kind truth is verified factual information, no matter how distressing, offered with a gentle, caring heart.
For too long now too much information has been misinformation, disinformation, distorted information, or straight out lies. Tricksters disguise untruth as they prey without remorse on vulnerable ones such as the poor, ill, or elderly.
There was a time when warriors only fought with weapons face to face and saw up close the person they would kill or would kill them. They lived the full truth of war. Now people can hide behind phone calls or texts and never have to look at the truth of their own deceptions and their impact on the lives of others. Attackers of the human soul aren’t forced to wash bloody hands of reality.
Without truth, trust erodes and chaos rushes in to fill the emptiness of broken moral foundations that once stabilized our interactions. There have always been deceivers and liars, but the proportion in numbers and the speed of their activities have been outpacing our ability to discern truth. All of us might be served by slowing down to validate truthfulness and find kind ways to express it no matter how difficult it may be.
Over billions of years, life on Earth has been devastated multiple times and survived in new forms. We cannot say with certainty whether we are on the cusp of such an event now. However, one truth is that human life on Earth is being threatened simultaneously from multiple directions: climate changes, ongoing wars, economic deprivation of basic life necessities, extremists’ politics, and now…now a pandemic threatening to expand globally into economic disasters and breakdowns of multiple essential systems.
How can such difficult truths ever be told kindly? First of all, the teller must distinguish between validated information and speculation. Secondly, since the teller cannot precisely predict the impact on the listener, it is important to always offer difficult valid information with detached clarity, gentleness of tone, and sensitivity to the emotions that might be evoked.
There are many ways any one individual might cope with what is happening to our uncertain way of life now. Some are in denial. Some are praying fervently. Some are using humor and song to lighten underlying fear. Some eat lots of chocolate. Some see all of what’s happening as ultimately turning into a good thing, as a much-needed transformation of humanity; unfortunately, suffering and death and job loss and homelessness and more are the price. I don’t see how anyone will be left untouched in one way or the other by current events. Whatever one might choose to ease the burden, it is ultimately about experiencing comfort along the way.
Comfort is found one place never to be underestimated: in mutually kind connections. We can talk kindly, listen kindly, act kindly, look kindly into another’s eyes, and even walk kindly—there are so many options to express kindness when one’s basic intent is to be kind. When we connect to each other in this way, we create an underlying structure of expanded kindness stronger than any one individual. Such an interweaving structure of kindness supports a global strength of heart and wisdom of mind. We can each contribute to it with our diverse skills, united by our intent, united by kindness.
Still, I get angry. I want the scammers and liars and greedy and heartless to take permanent retirement from this situation! For me, one of the most difficult acts of kindness is toward people who don’t seem to know the meaning of the word. I try to remind myself I don’t know why they might be that way in the first place. In short, I don’t know their truth. Perhaps if their burden is eased, they will have an opportunity to discover another way of being.
I want to tell truth with kindness that respects another’s need to know, with compassion for what they may feel, with courage to help them face reality head-on, with their options as clear as possible, and with their responsibilities to the community stated. I doubt that I will find this always easy. I expect to learn much about humility.
I am so grateful for healthcare workers, store clerks, suppliers of food, singers, humorists, scientists, and the many, many others who are connecting human-to-human, stranger-to-stranger. Together we can use kind truth to comfort each other as we pass through this historic challenge.
There is another thing we can all do. To the question, “Is It Beautiful?” the answer would be a definite yes. It’s to wash our hands, not only for the safety of each of us, but as a shared ritual that connects us. It can become our symbolic act of washing away whatever may separate us from becoming a unified, true, and kind humanity.
May you be well.
© B. Luceigh, 03/2020