His kiss was soft and warm. I know, you should never kiss on the first date, but I let him kiss me anyway. I wanted to kiss him. He had earned a kiss. Why?
I met him midweek, and on Saturday, we spent hours on the phone together. We had both asked, and answered honestly, questions that were no-nonsense. “Tell me about your family?” “Where did you grow up?” “Do you want more kids?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “How do you feel about God?” “What is your faith background?” “Are you on good terms with your ex?”
He picked me up for our date and we went to Sunday brunch at a local winery where both of us were on our best behavior. It was his “off-weekend” for parenting, and my children were with their dad until 3 pm. Adult conversation! Uninterrupted eye contact! We smile at each other, as much because we are on a date, as because we get to be nonparents. We talk, listen and laugh at stories we are hearing for the first time.
He took me home, promptly at 2:30, so I could prepare for the homecoming of my children. As he left our first date, I allowed him to kiss me. On the lips.
That kiss turned into my husband, and nearly 25 years after that first date, all the kids are grown up and have lives of their own. It’s just us now and I still find his honest answers like that first kiss. Soft, warm, intriguing. His conversations leave me full, but wanting to know more. The jokes have grown old, but we practice listening, and we give courtesy laughs at all the punchlines. The honest answers have evolved into a deep respect and trust that are as necessary as air for both of us.
Honesty fuels a fire of trust that fans the spark of a wish into the glow of big, realized dreams. Honesty provides solace when the truth is hard between two people, between not-so-blended families, between generations who may not understand each other. Honesty provides structural integrity for decisions that build lives and families and community.
Honesty is a comfort that is universal between all generations. History, politics, tech, corporate structure–nothing changes the cultural importance of honesty that breeds trust. Every generation is hard wired to crave honesty.
Conversely, when we recognize dishonesty, it devastates us. It breeds distrust. And in all generations, we are slow to recover. You may have experienced a time when someone you trusted was dishonest. Someone may have deceived you, or you signed a contract without reading the fine print that you may have regretted later. You and a loved one had a misunderstanding, and maybe they talked about you to a third person instead of coming directly to you. Or maybe there has been no discussion and a seemingly insignificant slight has festered into distance and suffering.
Or maybe it was you. You fibbed, told a lie to protect yourself or your child. You forgot a promise till someone reminded you. Or worse yet, you just failed to keep a promise. Maybe you overspent and now the budget is pinching everyone uncomfortably. One little mis-truth leads to another till we are blinded by a dust storm of falsehood.
Here in Arizona, we have a “Monsoon Season.” Dust storms called “haboobs” look like mountains on a conveyor belt. The dust sweeps through on gales of wind and collects everywhere. Everyone scurries inside to safety from the mess. At best it is an inconvenience—like dust in your lip-gloss. But the potential for damage as the dust and wind swirl upward and gain strength has the power to suffocate. I see lies like a dust storm. At best they are inconvenient. At worst, lies have the ability to choke out the life of whole generations.
If a Dust-Up Happens
The Bible tells us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” Ephesians 6:14. Let truth help you stand tall and firm against the mis-truths, the half-truths, the omissions, and the outright lies. Let truth help you see reality from the mess that dishonesty spins up like a dust devil. Let your honesty free you and others from a recent dust up before it becomes a haboob. Wear your truth–like a belt on your waist to hold you up in the storm, and like a kiss on the lips to help you settle things afterward. Let your honesty breathe mutual respect and trust into the ones you love. Let it fan the flame of collective dreams of all the generations in your family into a big, comfortable legacy.
How does the word truth affect you? Is it setting you free? What about dishonesty?