Are You For Real??!!
Would someone please explain to me why everyone is so outraged and shocked over the fact that Lance Armstrong used drugs and that he lied about it? Since when are we a culture of truth and purity that is infuriated over a personality not being whom they claimed to be? This deceit has been going on forever. A few instances come to mind immediately: Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Billy Graham, Richard Nixon . . . on and on and on. Maybe we're finally just mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore. I somehow doubt that. Don't get me wrong -- I hate it -- but it doesn't surprise me one bit. It's gotten to the point where I don't know what the heck is real anymore, and that's an ugly place to be. Why bother establishing friendships? Who can we trust to turn to for guidance? Do we really know our own families? What are the real intentions of the politicians? Why all the secrets? Why are we afraid, like the old song, "to be real?"
Nobody likes being lied to, and Lance pretended to be something he wasn't. But let's face it -- we probably could have figured out that something wasn't right. In my experience, there are clues or maybe even just instincts that lead us to suspect something is amiss, but we look away and join right in with the pretending. Then we get hurt and feel duped when we are partly to blame ourselves. It's all a ridiculous game, and it's no fun. We need to stop playing, trust our guts, and stop putting faith, expectations, and zeal in other people.
Thomas Aquinas said: “As a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.” You see, it begins with you and me. If I want to hear less lies, all I can do is be truthful. If I want to see more success, I can work on flourishing. If I want the world to change, I can move myself to initiate change. And if we make the mistake of putting another person up on a pedestal (like Lance), we can at least put a hand out to help him up when he falls because he couldn't have put himself up there without our help.
So what is it that we can know for certain? What on Earth is real ... true? This isn't something tangible that you can go purchase at the local mall. This isn't something you can demand from another person or entity. It's something supernatural that requires time, attention, and work, and that work begins within each and every one of us. What is real? Well, let's start with you and me. If I take off my mask and make myself vulnerable, will you do the same? Will you accept me with all my imperfections and reveal your flaws and fears to me? Will we support each other in truth and love? That's a start, and that's the best we can do.
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