Who among us can change our consciousness—our personality? Through the process of religion and Christian morality we learn to conceal it, to pretend—to hide behind a pious facade of deception for the sake of fitting the mask of conformity to appear acceptable.
I have a friend who currently lay in a coma now four weeks from a fall. Yesterday they discontinued life support yet he continues to breath—for now. His pious brother came to visit and the first words out of his mouth, “see what your bad decisions and lies have done for you?”
I happen to know very well the sins of the accusing brother; his endless adulteries and prideful pretending to be an honest, religious man and I confronted him (I was commissioned today to deflect the incoming negativity that was expected from the estranged brothers—one the good son, the other, who lay in the bed in front of us, the prodigal.
I cut off his crescendo and said abruptly; “you stand here over your brother to judge, but the only difference between you and him—his integrity would not allow him to hide who he was. You on the other hand, have hidden it quite well” (his wife wide-eyed and gently nodding in agreement) “while you in your perfect health stand here over your dying brother can’t even change the pride you hate about your own self”.
You see, Chris couldn’t change, but he was cursed with integrity and could not live two lives to appease. While his family sees his life as a tragedy, I see his life as an example of honesty—yet in today’s world and yesterday’s, that integrity proved too much.
Where does the honest man go but to the fringes of society, to alcohol or a recluse life on the edges, or pretend to be who he is not? Some are lucky I guess, to live life in the middle without guilt, or to live without feeling guilty about guilt. Chris is an example to me of the cost of living life on your own terms—something we all wish for but seldom accomplish til it’s too late.