The dangers of honesty

Books are dangerous. Well, words are dangerous, and that’s what books are full of: words.

I blogged here about the power of words, and I blogged here about the book I was reading, so I won’t repeat myself today, except to say that that book triggered things in me that I truly wasn’t expecting. I don’t imagine the author would be expecting that kind of response from her book either, because the pyrotechnics inside of me had virtually nothing to do with what was happening in the narrative.

Has that ever happened to you? Is it just me? I have to confess, sometimes when I’m watching movies or TV I pay more attention to the set design than the plot. I can get a bit tangential at times (oh hello, like, possibly, now Megan?) and halfway through The Mentalist when my husband turns to me and says “do you have any ideas?” the first thing I want to answer is “Yes. Our mantelpiece would look great in that colour”.

ANYWAY…and back to the point…

The point is, there’s something about the power of true and honest words sent forth that unlock the true and honest words inside the person who receives them. Honesty begets honesty, if you like. Saying the truth about what’s happening inside you actually frees up other people to say the truth about what’s happening inside them as well. And often the truths are different, the what’s-happening is different, but the honesty, the vulnerability, the shapes of our soul are the same. And so are the fake words that wallpaper over the truth of who (and how) we really are. We buy the latest soul-covers from magazine lift-outs sometimes, and we change the language to reflect the trending décor, and all that is fine, it’s how we live and deal with the world on a daily basis. But there are times, like when some book is published without it’s hip-coloured, hot-textured soul-cover on and the sheer force of its nakedness blows off your own and you find yourself vulnerable and bare in the powerful face of true and honest words.

Words can be dangerous, and books can be dangerous because books are full of words. True words, honest words. Words that open us up on the inside, and words that heal the mess that’s lying dormant there. I’m going to do it again today – read a book, that is. I’m a wild risk-taker like that. What do you reckon, care to join me?

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I lost a child once, a little boy called Daniel. He was three. My back was turned, the door was opened, he went to find his mother.

It ended okay. Because this is Tasmania, even though he turned right when we all went left, he was picked up by a family friend while wandering on the highway, while we set our searches in the other direction. It could have been much, much worse.

I was lucky. I know that, although I don’t think I’ve ever really forgiven myself for that day. I ran into two of his brothers the other day at the supermarket, and they tell me he’s an apprentice painter now, all grown up. For me though there’ll always be a small Daniel wandering on the highway of my memory.

I’m thinking of this at the moment because all of a sudden it’s very fresh. I’m reading a book called Unraveled, by Sharon K Souza. Image

I loved her previous books because they were honest and fresh and original, and when I saw she’d published another I jumped at it. I thought early on that I might blog about it, share it, because she’s taken the wild leap of faith into publishing it herself and this is one author I feel deserves to be read widely, but…but I’d thought I’d at least finish the book first.

I’m still in the middle. The main character is feeling the guilt that I felt that day, she was responsible, and now a child is missing, and all indicators are pointing to kidnapping by sex-traffickers. It’s set in Eastern Europe. It’s a story that’s all-too true for so many people.

I’m scared to read, and I’m scared to not read. I have no guarantee that this book will end well, at least not for the stolen child. This story isn’t Tasmania, and there may not be a family friend who happens to be driving past on the highway. I’m scared because, fifteen years ago, my lost Daniel could have ended like this.

We don’t know how stories will turn out when we’re in the middle of them. Some stories are not at all fun.

The one I’m reading is fiction. Unfortunately it’s on Kindle, so I can’t skip to the end, but neither can we in life.

I don’t know today why I’m telling you all this, except that sometimes we need to reach out to people and say “help! I’m in a story and I don’t know how it ends. Hold my hand for a minute?” and sometimes we just need someone to say “I don’t know if you believe in it or not, but I’ll pray for you today”.

So this is me, saying to you my friend, I don’t know if you believe it or not, but All Stories End. And today, if you need it, I’m praying for you.