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Musings: The Bare Truth

Ben Wright

Ben Wright

In today’s world, it is difficult to accept the bare truth. We have become so thin skinned that we have to cover the truth with rationalizations, excuses, blame and/or denials.

Sometimes, I suspect our legal and welfare systems may not be too interested in the truth. Apparently, truth is not in demand today.

Not long ago, I read an article that spoke to the issue of truth. I am not sure who wrote it and the following is a feeble attempt to share it with you.

A rabbi, famed for his wit and knowledge, was asked by his students why he often illustrated a truth by telling a parable. “That I can best explain through a story,” he replied. “A parable about a parable itself:

“There was a time when the Truth went among the land unclothed, naked as his name. Whoever saw Truth turned away, in fear or in shame and gave Truth no welcome. So Truth wandered through the world unwanted and shunned. One day, depressed, Truth met Parable strolling along happily in fine and many-colored garb.

“‘Truth, why do you seem so sad?’ asked Parable cheerfully.

“‘Everyone avoids me because I am so old and ugly,’ replied Truth.

“‘Nonsense,’ laughed Parable. ‘That is not why people avoid you. Here, borrow some of my clothes and see what happens.’

“So Truth dressed in Parable’s attractive garments and was welcomed everywhere he went.”

The rabbi smiled and said, “The truth is that we cannot face truth naked. We would rather prefer truth be disguised.”

We may question whether it is wise not to accept truth as just truth. Why are we so afraid of plain truth?

It has been my experience that truth is not my enemy. Truth has allowed me to grow and become strong and healthy. When truth is avoided, we have to look over our shoulders constantly fearing we will be discovered. We must always be on guard. By facing the truth as truth we can feel good about ourselves and others.

Facing truth as truth does not discount the value of parables which enlighten and bring clarity to unclear situations. Parables help us connect with truth in a clever and sometimes humorous manner.

Six-year-old twins, Dan and Thomas, came home after their first day in a new school and asked, “Mother, what does G-I-R-L-S spell?”

“It spells girls,” she replied.

Dan turned to Thomas and said accusingly, “See, I told you we were in the wrong room!”

Have a good week.

Ben Wright is a former prison chaplain and is a longtime Jackson resident.