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You Can't Deny What You Are: A Moment With Bill Reflection
YOU CAN FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME…..
“Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep on keeping on?... I don't know the answer, I know only that I can't.”
….and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” I’m going to amend that old quote by saying that you cannot fool yourself all of the time. At the end of the day, you can’t deny what you are.
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT
We are all hypocrites. I know some of you don’t want to read those words. Hell, I don’t want to write them, but they are true. We piss and moan about the state of the environment and yet drive our SUV’s to the grocery store and purchase corporate-grown fruits and vegetables that are wrapped in plastic.
We talk to our kids about morals and character, but we don’t tell the clerk when he gives us back too much change after a purchase.
We stand around the water cooler and decry injustice and yet do nothing to stop it.
We talk about the horrors of racism and yet do we really want our precious white daughter to marry a black man? Or we make snide remarks about writers from India on HubPages because they do not have proper command of the English language.
We talk about the decline of the American family and then allow the television and computer to babysit our kids..
We donate $100 per year to stomp out poverty and then complain about the homeless in the streets.
Plastic Fantastic Lover
WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?
When did hypocrisy become a way of life in the United States, or has it always been so? Some of our greatest moral and political leaders were extremely flawed human beings who certainly did not practice what they preached. Hell, look not at the leaders but look in any church in this country on a Sunday morning and you will find walking, talking hypocritical humanoids on display, wearing their Sunday finest, nodding their heads to the words of Christ and silently making plans to once again break one or more of the Commandments.
And so it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.
To put a happy face on sorrow…..
When did it become accepted behavior to hide our feelings? I’m reminded of a line from Jefferson Airplane that went something like “plastic, fantastic lover.” Why do we put on that brave face and refuse to show our feelings? Is that some kind of sign of bravery I am not aware of? Or is it a sign of fear? If we do not show emotions are we in some way masking a fear that goes marrow deep in many of us?
I’ll say this for the family I grew up in: there was no doubt how they felt about you. There was no slapping you on the back and smiling while hating your guts. If my relatives didn’t like you then you instantly knew it, and I actually respect that. All too often during my lifetime I have been the recipient of that two-faced phoniness and I find it despicable and cowardly. Say what you mean and mean what you say, or do those words have any meaning in today’s world?
A Moment with Bill
HERE IS MY PROBLEM WITH THE WHOLE SITUATION
Who is real? In a nutshell that is my problem. Who out there is trustworthy and reliable? Who can be counted on to walk their talk? Who can be counted on to reveal the real person inside of them? I’ll tell you truthfully that I would rather talk to a hate-filled racist who is open and honest about their beliefs rather than some lilly-white bigot who preaches the gospel while wearing an invisible white hood. At the very least, with the former I know what I am getting. With the latter I have no clue.
As a society we suffer from constipation. We shove our emotions and our truths so deep inside of us that we are unable to have a liberating bowel movement of real feelings and honesty.
Don’t say that because it might offend someone. Don’t cry in public because people will think you are weak. Don’t show your humanity because someone might take advantage of you. Don’t….Don’t….Don’t….for the love of God, how about DO!
Do show your emotions! Do show your humanity! Do show your empathy and compassion!
Do show the truth that is you!
THERE IS HOPE…THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE
That is my message. There is always hope. You can’t deny what you are but you can certainly change who you are.
I have told this story before but it bears repeating.
When I was growing up there was a man who lived across the street from us. Mr. Streitz was his name, and a meaner man you have never met. From the time I was five years old to January of my 19th year, I never heard the man say a nice word to anyone. He screamed at his son and he screamed at his wife and he screamed at us neighbor kids if we dared to walk on this lawn. For fourteen years I saw nothing but hate and disgust from the man.
In January, 1969, my father died. Three months later I was out mowing the lawn when Mr. Streitz walked over to me. He held out his hand and shook mine and told me how sorry he was for my loss, and I could see on his face that he was sincere. I found the words to thank him, and in that moment I came to realize that we can all change. We can all summon goodness and genuine emotions from deep inside of us and yes, we can make it a life-changing event, but we have to be willing.
Mr. Streitz was nice to me for the remaining three years that I lived in my childhood home. It was as though, with my father’s death, the meanness in Mr. Streitz died as well. I learned a profound lesson from Mr. Streitz, and all these years later I am still grateful to him for that lesson.
SO HOW ABOUT YOU?
Yes, we are all hypocrites in one way or another, but that does not mean we cannot change. We have the ability, right here and right now, to change who we are. We have the ability to be the town crier in our villages and shout out a message of love. We have the ability to be a changed human being. We are not shackled to the ways of the past. We do not have to repeat our mistakes and we do not have to wallow in self-loathing.
Are you willing? That is really the central question now isn’t it? Are you willing to change who you are for the better? Are you capable, like Mr. Streitz, to walk across the street and change reality?
I have said often that we should never underestimate the power of a small group of determined people. I will amend that now to say we should never underestimate the power of one person if they are determined and willing.
How determined are you? How willing are you to finally answer to your higher calling? Are you going to continue to drag your knuckles with your primordial ancestors, or are you going to unfurl those wings and soar with your dreams? Are you going to continue to be part of the problem or are you determined to be part of the solution?
Every single one of us can change for the better today. Are you ready to do so? If so, then walk across the street and shake my hand. I’ll be there, right alongside of you, as you begin your new quest.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)