Speak the truth.

That’s easier said than done.

It’s hard to speak truth if you don’t want to argue, don’t wish to offend, don’t care to defend yourself.

It’s also hard to speak truth if you don’t know what the truth actually is.

Sometimes, when you dig, you find out what you thought was true actually isn’t.

We make assumptions based on our own experiences.

But not everyone has the same experiences I do.

When we make generalizations based on our own experiences, we are not speaking for everyone; we can only speak for ourselves.

That reminds me of the Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant. We ought to hesitate to make pronouncements until we understand the whole picture.

Sometimes I think we speak at our own peril. There are concepts I’ve believed so devoutly, that I’ve shared widely, that I no longer believe. How do I take my words back, these beliefs that I professed, sure that I knew whereof I spoke?

How can I prevent myself from speaking words I will later learn aren’t true?

It would be better to be mute.

Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

The older I grow, the more opportunities I’ve had to speak with people who think differently than me and who challenge what I believe. And the more I process, the more my beliefs don’t stand up to deep scrutiny.

I think we oversimplify the complexity we ponder. We try to tame it, to get our minds around it. The universe is big. God is big. Our experience is small, too small to be definitive. If we live and learn, we add to our knowledge base, and we must abandon the beliefs we once held as true but now recognize as wrong, or at least limited, incomplete. Growth requires change. A changed mind is a growing mind.

The truth is out there.

Originally published at http://arhtisticlicense.com on August 10, 2021.

Former elementary general music teacher. Wife, and mother of five. Blogging about the arts and the creative process at https://ARHtisticLicense.com.