What Writing Has Taught Me About Truth

Truth with a big T, truth with a little T.  I don’t know if I can always know the difference. I know things are TRUE in a way that I can never fully understand or articulate – that love is foundational and lack of it the kind of thing that scars a person’s spirit like a strike of a whip.  3765640273

That good will prevail even as wrong and bad and even evil creep through our days like smoke we can’t see.

That hope and grace are forces stronger than any shame and that they speak in whispers, not shouts.

Writing has taught me that the way we encounter Truth/truth is both universal and so specific, a snowflake.  We write our stories, we tell our memories, we drape our poems like beacons and balms in the world, and they sooth, they ease, they wake others to their own truth.  Even as they miss the mark entirely.

We never know how someone else feels exactly.

We try, and sometimes, laying just an edge of what is the same against their edges gives them more breath, even as we feel oxygen reach the part of our lungs that slides along our diaphragms.

There is TRUTH in the sense that so many of us mean it – realities that are immutable and profound, everlasting and bottomless.  I know this more than I know anything.

I also know that to carve this truth into solid black or pristine white is not true. It’s the opposite.

Writing has taught me that I cannot know these things for anyone else. I cannot convince them with my words or teach them into seeing TRUTH the way I see it. For I see in that dark glass, too. My perception is shadowed, my experience scarred.

So I have quit trying to tell THE truth. Instead, I tell my truth, and trust that the Maker of all TRUTH takes my misshapen ball of clay that I have tried to form – a castle, a tree swing, a gravestone- and spins it into a feather, a kiss, a jackhammer – the need of that day, that moment in that place of gorgeous and ache.

So do I believe in TRUTH, oh yes. But I don’t try to make it.  I don’t even try to share it. I just write what I know and trust.  That’s enough truth for me.

What do you know about truth?


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  • Nate Shields

    Your post today rings true in my heart today.

    As you wrote Andi, there is a greater amount of personal lowercase truth, and that is something that I affirm. I also know that it is dangerous to speak it aloud. It seems that many people want something that is unmovable or rock-solid. In trying times I think I do too. But in those moments, those bits of unmovable rock-solid Truths are still few:

    God loves me, period.
    He is in control.
    God will give me Grace for everything else.

    I have been taught by the church that there is Truth and you can know it.
    I have rejected most of that notion.
    All the other things that I know as truth, experience has taught me.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com LarryTheDeuce

    I know Truth is a Person. He is the Way. He is the Life. I have to determine all other truth by Truth. And it is rarely what I expect.

  • http://afieldofwildflowers-kellys.blogspot.com/ Kelly Chripczuk

    I think this is similar to what preaching has taught me about truth. It reminds me also of someone (Nouwen?) who said, “what is most personal is most universal”. Sometimes I feel that I come most close to Truth when I lean in and listen closely to the tiny grains and textures of truth that weave their way through my day. I think, for some, this seems close to sacrilage, but I think Jesus actually did this quite often. This is, perhaps, one reason why he was a story teller and why he could find glimmers of God’s truth in every situation without too often referrng to larger abstact truths.