A few weeks ago, a friend I had not seen in a few years told me, unexpectedly, “I love you.” I was a little surprised and I guess – when I think about it – feeling a tad guilty because, in my body, I was still holding onto some past misunderstandings and small hurts that had arisen between us years ago.
My first response to my friend’s words were genuine and spontaneous: “Wow. Really? Why?”
She told me very clearly and specifically why, and I was moved. I still didn’t truly feel the impulse to say “I love you too” but I said it anyway because I felt she deserved it, and that therefore I owed it to her.
Later, upon reflection, I felt I had dishonored us both in that moment. I felt shame for having lied about something so tender, and I suspected that my words must have landed a little crookedly on my friend’s ear. So neither of us was truly served, I don’t think, by my “white lie.” (Ugh, what an ugly expression. And what a concept!)
I have another friend who believes that God is love, and that all things in the universe are aligned, and all that transpires is “part of the plan” – meaning, that it all occurs, ultimately, for the purpose of bringing in more love.
So now, my question to this other friend, the one who is certain that God is love, would be: “How did the interaction I’ve described above serve to unfold more love into the universe? Or did it actually set love back a step?”
I imagine he might say something like, “You’ve gained self-awareness as a result of that conversation. You can have compassion for yourself AND your friend around it. And now you also have so much more power over your word because of your increased awareness and commitment to truth.”
I’m not sure allegiance to truth is an ultimate value. Maybe it is. But truth is not a static thing. It changes constantly. It’s like aiming at a moving target, to always try to be truthful, and that’s part of why I have no ultimate answers to any of life’s biggest questions.
I do, however, have a sense that my heart will find a way through all these thickets if I let it lead. This requires listening to my heart, which is a skill I get better at with practice.
If you’ve never spoken directly to your heart, never asked your heart what your heart needs or wants or feels … I recommend it. And that is a truth I can get behind without reservation.
My unsolicited advice: Talk to your heart. It only sounds woo-woo until you try it and see what happens.