Are you looking for the truth? Is there only one truth in a given situation? I once thought that truth was pure and immutable. The older I get, the less I see truth as stagnant. It’s different for each person. The old saying is that when I was a child, I believed in Santa Clause. When I was older, I believed there was no Santa Clause. As an adult, I realized that I was Santa Clause. Which statement is true? In its context, they are all true.
I’ve known pathological liars, which let me to a life where honesty and truth is valued. I was stunned the other day, when a friend and I talked about a mutual friend whom I thought was being dishonest. She had told a story that was so blatantly unlikely that my intelligence was insulted. It was then that my best friend asked, “so what?” Even if it wasn’t true, she said, what harm is there in this story? This started a big discussion about imagination, truth, and things that matter. My point of view was so stuck that I couldn’t see things differently. Truth and honesty trumped all, right? Maybe not.
My friend and I watched a movie, Griff the Invisible. Griff was a wildly creative man who lived a fantasy life that bordered on delusional. He found his soul mate in a woman who understood and joined him in his reindeer games. Everyone else treated him like a nut, but she saw Griff’s pure heart, his need for rather tame excitement, and the need to see life differently. Rather than treat him as ill, his girlfriend saw him as fun and his fantasies as exciting. Without his imagination and fantasies, he was dull, lifeless, and depressed. That alternative was so unattractive that in the end, those who loved Griff grew to accept his fantasies, and play with him rather than against him. They stopped judging him and started enjoying him.
I thought it was just a silly movie until I dealt with someone I cared for that told me the same story several times, months apart. The story changed with each telling. Not just in the unimportant details, but main points. I almost interrupted, I almost asked for clarification. I almost asked which version was true. In the end, I decided that it didn’t matter. I know that when facts are important, I need to be sure this person gives a dependable answer. I can ask questions then. Otherwise, what does it matter? Perhaps love means accepting people’s truth, even as it changes or it’s different than mine. As their reality shifts, I shouldn’t hold them back; I should just follow along. Sometimes truth is over-rated. I just need to know when it’s imperative, and when a good stretch isn’t important.