About honesty and pain and watching angels sleep

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend about how sometimes people choose not to tell truths to their loved ones because they are afraid of hurting them. For some reason, some words came through me and I expelled them without filter. The weight of them did not hit me until later. At that moment I told her: “We all have a different level of tolerance for the truth.”

That sank in me….deep.

We all have a different level of tolerance for the truth.

Yesterday, I stayed a few seconds observing my three-year-old son while he was still asleep. That peaceful face, his cute lips, the way he puts his hands as if he was praying, the glow of innocence. My heart swelled while I rejoiced in the moment, thinking how much I love him and how I want to protect him from pain for the rest of his life. I did the same thing with my daughters too when they were younger but now they had grown and if they find me looking at them while they are sleeping they would probably scream, “moooom, creepy!”   So I don’t do it anymore. However that desire to protect them has not evaporated. They have had their shares of pain, and for the most part, I had been completely unable to shield their hearts.

I don’t take it personally, it has not been a fault on my part (again, most of the times. Occasionally, it has been questionable)  As humans it seems impossible to avoid pain completely. In fact, it is thanks to pain that we grow. I don’t speak butterfly language which would make it impossible for me to prove this, but I am sure a caterpillar would not find the process of breaking out of the cocoon a painless affair. Extending the wings, parting the chrysalis, trying to fly. And then, it is an inevitable process.

If life were a seesaw, honesty would be on my side, pain on the other.  Sometimes finding the balance is quite difficult. But in life as in the playground, we need two similarly weighted sides to find balance. When honesty is heavy and big, our pain goes high.  When pain is massive and large, our honesty shrinks, either be honesty with others or with ourselves. We avoid the truths because we don’t want to feed the pain. Then how do we achieve that balance?

I am a firm believer in living with sincerity, facing our truths as painful as they could be. But as I started writing this I realized that the phrase I told my friend weeks ago was incomplete. It should have said, “we all have a different level of tolerance for the truth and for pain.” We should choose the level in which we take and in which we give both. There are no right or wrong ways, just several roads to the same destinations. Some paths are shorter and straighter, some longer and windier. We got to choose, but whatever it is, we need to own it. Even when sometimes it seems life sends us blows that break us into pieces, we still get to choose how we managed the truths we unveil. 

My kids will not remain innocent all of their lives. So many times we will cry with them and for them. Sometimes we will have to tell them what they don’t want to hear. So many times we will have to hear what we are not ready to face. I won’t be able to shield them all their lives the same way that I can’t prevent so many tough lessons I would have to go through. Our level of tolerance will vary, expand. I can only hope that when I am asleep, truth comes to my side  and see the parts of me that remain innocent and wants to protect me. I know pain would be looking closely too and hopefully the two can come together and ride the seesaw like giggly kids in a constant game of ups and downs. When one of them falls the other will pick it up. I cannot control their game but I can stay committed to finding my own balance, knowing that I would probably fail at it many times, but every time I will break the cocoon and come out stronger.