- What is real?
- What is accurate?
- What is true?
Like the early morning fog, truth and beliefs can be misty and subject to change.
Just a few weeks ago, those who vehemently supported Romney and those who backed Obama exchanged barbs and spoke words that were polar opposites. Someone not familiar with the scene would have been confused. How could Americans, living in the same country, at the same time in history, see the world in such different ways? How could some Democrats and Republicans be so sure the other side was wrong, even evil? I must hope that in the future, those who hold opposing viewpoints will loosen the intensity of their opinions and become more tolerant of the other. We need more of us to truly communicate and listen. We need to not demonize the other. We need kindness and democracy to flourish and both sides to work together.
People who are Jewish, or Catholic, or Baptist, or Unitarian may have strongly held beliefs on what they assume is the true religion. Or maybe not. But for those who do, what viewpoint is right? Can members of a religious group feel empathy for the position of others who hold different convictions? Can they understand that people are individuals and create their own belief system that develops over time as a result of their personal experiences? Can they consider that their own faith may change as they live through important life-changing happenings?
I’ve moved through significant corrections in my viewpoint about a situation I once believed to be only as I saw it. I was unable to consider that others, with their opposing point of view, might also be right. To do so would have shredded the support I held for my former husband. And I had to protect him, and my family. I couldn’t imagine thinking anything else.
In 2003 I was consumed with hate for what I saw as the lying girl and her evil family. That day in court in November 2003, I was barely able to conceal my rage and loathing towards her and her relatives, who threatened my life and that of my family. It was absolutely impossible for me to consider the girl might be telling the truth. Was I wrong in my belief? I don’t know, but then I couldn’t imagine the others’ points of view, so certain was I that they were lies. But were they?
I wonder now about what was true then, now that nine years have passed, ten if I consider when the threats against him began. Was I wrong in believing him? Did he lie to me? Did he lie to his lawyer?
If it was a lie, was the truth so terrible he couldn’t acknowledge it? If it was a lie, was it intentional? If it was a lie, had he convinced himself that what he said was true or was the truth merely slanted, to soften the intensity of the falsehood?
As each year passes I become less sure that my 2003 vehemence was the right reaction. Perhaps intense emotion and the desire to protect my family overtook my ability to even consider the other side. I’ll never really know. I only hope that the girl, now a young woman, is having a good life with few remnants of the upset from that time.