“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln
I wake up every morning promising myself and my kids that everything is going to be okay. And I try to believe that everything is okay or as it should be. As the day goes by and I meet people, I talk to friends and relatives and the first question they ask is, “How are you?” I say I am good. Somehow I try to believe those words myself.
Evening comes and I am having dinner with my kids. I listen to them talk about their day at school and work. They ask me how my day was and I tell them it was good. We talk more, have a few laughs. The evening passes. When it’s time to go to bed, I sigh with relief because I don’t have to pretend anymore. And I break down in the privacy of my room.
And I think about my kids. About how much they miss their father but they don’t say anything because they don’t want to upset me more. Because they want to make me happy. About how much they miss talking to him, about how much they miss his embrace, his hug, his wisdom, his encouragement and his support. About how much they miss hearing his voice, laughing at his jokes, about how much they miss his being here with them, with us.
And I think, why do we have to pretend? We don’t owe anyone anything right? Why do we have to keep up appearances, why can’t we tell people and each other the truth? Is it because, to quote Maya Angelou:
“Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”
Maybe it is better to be alone for a while if it will help us mend our scars and find our true selves. Maybe it is better to have time to focus on the beautiful things that surround us like the trees, the flowers, the birds, the sky, the sunset. And little by little we start to appreciate these things that are given to us and which we take for granted most of the time. Because to use Laura Ingalls Wilder’s words:
“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”