I took a few days off last week just to cry. I knew I needed to. I felt like I was going crazy.

What is the truth. What is the truth. What is the truth. WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

I might sound really angry for the first part of this piece…I hope you’ll stay with me, because I am going somewhere. Two days of crying helped me make sense of some things. I really did think I might go mad.

How could they have been lying to me for all of this time? How could they go around spreading information that is not true…don’t they understand that they are ruining people’s lives?

How could he have told us that, when it was so far from the truth? How does she live with herself when she is spreading lies? Why couldn’t they just have told the truth? Why do they go around deceiving people for their own personal gain? I believed them! I BELIEVED WHAT THEY SAID!!!!!!! I BELIEVED THEM! I made decisions based on what they told me! THEY LIED!

1. I remember the first time someone from church lied to me. I remember the first time I knew that someone at church was lying from the pulpit.

2. I remember when they told me that Marq’s brain injury recovery would plateau at 2 years. They said he would not get any better beyond that. He was literally crazy at 2 years.

3. I remember the first time that they told my dad he was going to die soon because he needed a liver transplant, and he would die waiting. And it would be a long and painful death. Specialists. They said he was about number 45,000 on the waiting list, and there was no other way. They said he should just prepare to die.

4. I remember when they said that Ebola was going to kill us in record numbers

5. I remember when the last night of human civilization was supposed to be December 31, 2011….or was it December 31, 1999?

6. I remember when they told me that it was a safe investment

7. I remember when I found out my parents weren’t perfect…and maybe even “lied” to me

8. I remember when they said that if you were a good girl, and you did all of the right things…you would live happily ever after

9. I remember wanting to find that ONE place where everyone told the truth (was it church? was it a retreat? was it a club?)

10. I remember so many times when someone thought or was even sure, that I was lying to them…or that I had lied to them…or that I was living a lie

Before I go on, I want to tell you my intention in writing this piece. I want to help you stop suffering the way I have suffered so many times. Like last week.  I suffered because I have always thought there was ONE TRUTH in all things…and when I found out what it was (or thought I did) I took it so personally that others have chosen to tell me, show me, lead me in other directions. I suffered because I was a bit of a fool. I was naive. Ok…I am still a bit of a fool, I am still naive in many ways…I still take things personally until I remember what I know. I also suffered because I constantly punished myself for not living by or knowing that one truth. (I am not talking about religion, by the way…I am talking about life)

Here’s the thing I have learned…in one sentence. MOST PEOPLE are telling the truth. It’s just that it is THEIR truth. Most people are not intentionally trying to deceive. Most people are saying what they believe to be true. Most people are living by what they believe to be true. Most people are believing to be true what they believe is true. And most people also believe that there is one truth…so everyone else who is not living by that truth, is not living the truth. What a complicated mess with so much potential for suffering, miscommunication, disconnection, depression, confusion….and flat out GOING MAD. And hate.

So I am going to go back to the list of 10 things up there….and tell you what I’ve learned since I was in a place of wallowing over those things (at all different times in my life)

  1. You will not always hear the truth at church. You just won’t. It is a bunch of human beings who are trying to figure things out. Most of them are really good human beings. You just always hear a lot about the broken ones. But you won’t always hear the truth. It is not that they are lying to you…it is just that sometimes they think something is true that is not. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART TO KNOW IF IT IS TRUE. THIS IS WORK. You have the ability and authority and the equipment within you to do that. You will not always hear the truth from the CEO, or the President, or the Bishop or Pastor or Minister, or the Principal or the Do Gooder. You just won’t. You will almost always hear what they believe is true. We suffer when we think that they know what is best for us better than we know what is best for us. They probably don’t even know fully what is best for themselves. Do any of us yet? We suffer when we want someone else to tell us the right way to live without doing the work of figuring out if it really is the right way to live for us individually. IT IS WORK! Our job is to learn discernment…to listen to it. To learn what the truth feels like so that we know what is true and what is not true for each of us individually. That is one of our most important jobs to learn. You do not have to go through someone else to have access to God. God wants one on one conversations with you…daily. Wherever you are. However you are. Whoever you are. God is not for one kind of person or one group of people. God is for all of us. God doesn’t want us to be lazy. We have to keep doing the work of knowing what is true for us. You do not have to believe all of the things you hear from figures of “authority”. I have learned that this is a very lazy way to live. We have to learn things for ourselves…and we have to tell the truth to ourselves that THERE ARE NO PERFECT HUMANS. NO ONE know the exact right path for another…no one. We might know pieces…but we never know another’s full path. This is work that must be done with ourselves and with the very source of Truth. There are too many opinions….we have to find it in the quiet, alone with the source of all Truth.

2. Doctors, scientists and geniuses do not always tell the whole truth. They do almost always tell what they believe to be true. We can never take this as the whole truth. This is a very lazy way to live. Right? It really is! We have access to so much information, and lots of it is false. Again, we MUST learn discernment and we must get to work gathering all of the information that we can on own when something is important. Like someone’s life. I am stubborn about suffering…meaning, when someone tells me that a life of suffering is just where it ends…you will always hear me swear if you listen close enough. I don’t swear very often…but if you tell me that someone is going to plateau and live a life of suffering….you will hear me say BULLSH*#) (sorry everyone) I only use words when they are the only word that will work for what I mean. When they told me that my husband would end his recovery at 2 years….that’s what I said. When they told me my dad would die waiting for a transplant…that’s what I said…and then I got to work. But first I was mad BECAUSE THEY LIED TO ME!!! They didn’t tell me there were a million things we could do to help. Guess what? They didn’t lie to me…they told me what they believed to be true. It was my job to feel that it wasn’t true. SO……12 years later, my husband has had a complete recovery from a very horrible condition. For him, it wasn’t true. For some, it is true. But we did the work of finding out if it was true or not. I urge you to ALWAYS find out for sure if a medical diagnosis is true….all that “they” are doing is telling you what they believe to be true….but it is not always the truth.

3. My dad lived 15 more years. The “specialists” didn’t know about a new surgery….”live” liver transplants. After I said my swear word, I dug into the internet…back when it was hard to find stuff on the internet. I was desperate to find out that they weren’t telling the truth. I was mad. I found an article about a pig that got half of another pig’s liver….and they both survived and grew back full sized livers….that led me to and article about a baby that did the same…then I thought…surely they can do this for adults!!! After a few days of nonstop researchng, I finally found a doctor from India who had moved to UCLA Medical Center and was doing these transplants successfully. So…what did I do? I picked up the phone, called and got his voicemail, I left a passionate, weeping message about my dad. He called me back within the hour!!! My dad and brother were in California within a few months…my brother had half of his liver removed and gave it to my dad. That one liver grew to 2 full sized livers. My dad lived 15 more years until the Hep C killed that liver. He died 2 years ago….right after they found a new medicine to kill Hep C. They said he was going to get better from that medicine…but it was too late. SO….of course I was mad that they lied. I suffered because of that. But…they didn’t lie…they said exactly what they believed to be true. The specialists 17 years ago who said my dad would die didn’t even know about live liver transplants. Did they lie? Nope, they told the truth. But it wasn’t the truth. See? And I said a swear word and got to work….because I believed there had to be a different truth, and there was. Is it okay for me to be angry at those who “lied”? Nope….because they told the truth….their truth.

4. Well, you know how this one ended.

5. And this one. (and in both cases lots of people suffered because of what they believed was the truth)

6. I can never know whether they told the truth. I am choosing to believe that they told me what they thought was true. I will suffer if I choose to believe that every person who helps others invest money and then loses it is telling a lie. I believe they are telling their truth. It is my job to discern whether this is true for me our not…and then take responsibility for MY decision. It is lazy to let someone else do this for me.

7. My parents ALWAYS told me the truth….on big things, I know this now. It’s just that they told me what they believed to be true…….and I didn’t know that some of those things would have to be sorted and sifted later in life…and that I would have to do the big work of figuring out if it was true or not for me. I know they have done the same thing. They have had to sift out their own truth. Sometimes our truth changes….we are telling the truth and then find out it’s not necessarily true…and then we have to find out the truth again, and so then we tell a new truth. Once we are adults…it’s our job to do the work of discernment to know if something is true or not. We have to stop punishing our parents and teachers for “lying” to us….because in most cases….they were just telling us what they really believed to be true. We all have some broken beliefs…but that does not mean we are lying….just means we are still traveling to finding the wholeness of truth. It sucks when you find out your parents are not perfect. It is disconcerting, confusing and discombobulating. It’s also hard when your kids find out that you are not perfect.(and you figure out that you are not perfect)  But all of this is a part of life. Once we come to terms with it….there is so much peace, forgiveness and grace.

8. Listen….this is a hard one. My current truth is that bad things happen to “good” people and awesome things happen to “bad” people and we just have stop thinking that this=this because life is dynamic and though there are things like gravity that pretty much always end up the same way…most other things in life are a wild ride and a wild card that can turn out pretty much any way….no matter what you do. Also…I think we have to stop sorting people into “good” and “bad”. We do get to decide some things internally, in our minds and hearts….but on the outside…there are just too many intricacies…too many factors….too many other people making decisions that affect us…too many things that are currently unquantifiable and unseen. I think we suffer when we think that there is going to be a certain outcome if we do a certain thing…and that everything just feels like a big lie if that doesn’t happen.

9. I have searched the world over for the people who always tell the truth. I have found it…it is all around me. It is all around YOU too. Pretty much EVERYONE is telling the truth….it’s just that they are saying what they believe to be true. And maybe…with what you know to be true though your life experience and though your searching….it is not true to you at all. That feels disappointing, because we could easily perceive that as lying. As not being truthful. But I would challenge you to just consider that the person who seems to be so “out there” and even the person who seems to be a big fat liar….they may be living their truth 100%. Again…. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART TO KNOW IF IT IS TRUE. THIS IS WORK. And….to live in a peaceful world, I believe we have to understand and accept that most others around us really are telling the truth…and that’s why it’s so hard to convince people that our way is the right way or the best way. That’s why it’s so hard when we think they are being disingenuous, or that they are flat out lying….and we just want them to tell the truth….the thing is…they are, they are telling THEIR TRUTH.

10. So…..with all of that being said…..I try to ALWAYS tell the truth. But to others, it may seem like I am flat out lying. The truth is so important to me. That’s why sometimes I feel like I am going mad. I feel crazy when I believed something was true all of my life…and I find out it’s not….or maybe it’s not. I grieve when I think of all of the decisions I’ve made around what I thought was true…and how I could have made such better decisions. And I KNOW that I have been the one who has done this to other people. I have seemed like a liar, when I am actually telling the truth 100%….my truth. And I have thought others were liars, deceivers, fools, idiots, selfish jerks……when they truly believed they were doing the right thing and telling and living by the truth 100%…and they were…it’s just that it was their truth.

Okay….so you can see why I needed to cry for a few days. This is a lot to think about. Because I have people close to me who all have very different truths…some days I feel so confused…but mostly sad because there is a lot of yelling but not a lot of listening. Or there is too much listening to the crazy media machine that runs on the fuel of sensational drama…and we think that is the source of truth. There are pieces of truth there…but there is a lot added in…and there is also a LACK of truth. We have to do the work of completing the truth in our own hearts…and THIS IS WORK. We have to be kind to each other as we do this, knowing that everyone is on a path of finding their truth. And if there is ONE TRUTH…..everyone really is on their way to finding it…..dropped in all different locations with a different backpack full of supplies….we are all travelers trying to figure it out.

SO….when you feel like you’ve been lied to…the best thing to do is go in search of the truth for yourself. Yours might be found at church, yours might be found in the wilderness. YOU are to live by YOUR TRUTH…and you will suffer so much if you think that others are not living by the truth just because it is not YOUR TRUTH. We will ALL suffer. Can we give each other the grace of believing that we are all telling the truth that we know right now? We are all doing our best? RIght now, with what everyone knows and what they have lived through…they are living by the truth that they know. What I know to be true is that my job is to LOVE everyone and to constantly be seeking for what is true for me. THAT IS MY WORK. AND IT IS HARD WORK. AND IT IS YOUR WORK. AND IT IS HARD WORK. To do that with my Truthteller…for me that is God. For you, it might be someone or something else.

I love you and I know you are telling the truth. I want you to love me and know that I am telling the truth. Sometimes we might have pieces the other is looking for…but we will never have the opportunities to find them if we keep staying separated because our truth is truer than another’s truth.

I would love to sit with you ANY time and hear your truth….no matter how different it is from my truth. I hope I have the opportunity to tell you my truth. We might just have the puzzle pieces the other is looking for.

In part 2…I’m gonna tell you some techniques I’ve learned for how to do this….how to sit with others who have a different truth than you do. Or how to sit with others that you think are lying to  you….or to themselves…and turn it around to UNDERSTANDING them…and understanding yourself better.

And…how to learn what the truth feels like…what light feels like….what understanding feels like…so that we can all seek out anything and everything that feels like that…and know for ourselves what the truth is.

I will love you forever, fellow soul. I will believe you when you tell me what you believe is true. I hope you will believe me when I tell you what I believe is true. You don’t have to believe what I believe, but I hope you will believe me that I believe it. I will do that for you too.

It is hard to be a human being. Love makes it easier. It really does.

Yours on this wild ride,

melody ross