The idiom "truth be told" is often used when we describe something we'd rather not admit, maybe if we're trying to maintain a certain image or be polite. There is a certain level of regret or hesitation as we share: "Yeah, truth be told, I'd rather not be telling you this right now." Or, "I'll share this story about myself only if I have too." Maybe it's our desire to retain a level of privacy in our relationships. Or perhaps certain aspects of our life or character bring shame or guilt that we'd just rather not share. But sometimes, people hesitate to share openly because there is just too much hurt. And even worse, who will listen?
This week in Vancouver, the truth was told.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission took place where story after story after story was related in variety of settings, from mass forums, to sharing circles, to informal table conversation. Truth was told.
It's interesting because much of the stigma surrounding the atrocities of Canada's residential school history leave wounds that, truth be told, poeple just don't want to talk about. And when they do talk, truth be told, no one listens. This event was an attempt to get beyond the stigmas of sharing openly about the truth of Canada's residential school past. It was an attempt to overcome the hesitation so many feel when they wonder if anyone is really listening. As people opened up their lives publicly, instead of "truth be told." with all the baggage that phrase relates, the event carried the purpose that the truth must be told.
Personally, I'm still processing the stories and people I encountered when I attended the event. I listened. I heard. I cried. I prayed. I got angry. I began to sense the urgency that comes with truth telling. It's contagious. As one survivor observed, "As we are healing ourselves, we are healing others." I wonder, am I hesitant to live truthfully? Is "truth be told" my motto of sharing my deeper struggles only as a lost resort? Will I follow the lead of Canada's First Nations is exemplifying a deep honesty that goes beyond words?
I'm inspired by the truth telling of the residential school survivors. They've shown great courage in a culture that can frown upon vulnerable truth telling. I hope from this week that truth telling will extend beyond organized commissions, and become a regular of Canadian life. Residential school survivors need their truth to be heard much more. The truth must be told.