“Where To From Here”
Chapter 11, part 4
(This, Sharon’s last “self-help” book, as she called these three efforts, is close to concluding. This month we are beginning the last chapter, “Just Where to From Here.” Upon concluding this book, we will as promised begin her autobiography. I will be most interested in your response to this, her destined journey through the obstacles of show biz to our shared life and ministry.)
but as we have seen such indiscriminant manipulations of honesty can be the stuff of great tragedy. The miserable results of your words and actions are always such that no psychological manipulation will be able to rectify. You will have to make the decision to change, and seek to remake yourself, otherwise what you have done, all the stupidity may well be yelled from the rooftops all to your embarrassment.
Always sooner or later the truth will out and there is no turning back without having to weave an even more convoluted web, all the while being gazed upon with suspiciousness and disgust. Then, of course, you can face the truth, and make amends. Not some half-hearted effort, or playing some game. Now a new commentary on your life can be written. Just who are you? An unscrupulous oaf, punctuated by the clatter of charades, perhaps someone running the gamut of one retracted statement after another none of which are being bought, or will you discover that all your techniques, from charm to bluster and back again, are all useless.
You have lost their confidence. Now for people to believe in you would take a miracle. Ahead are now dark shadows and pervading gloom in a miserable attempt to restore your reputation. Their belief has been shattered; for good relationships are built on trust and assurance of your credence. If such reliance is dashed and you are deemed an untrustworthy fake, if ever your word was thought to be unimpeachable, incorruptible and above suspicion, the fact that you cannot speak without being dishonest has insured you a future of empty badlands and a painful elimination from your place in society.
You have your work cut out for you to reestablish yourself in among those who were adversely affected by your indiscretions, but if the moment of truth went well when you staunchly stood up and bared your soul with the unwavering truth, congratulations. Otherwise, ahead of you lies the gauntlet where you will have to prove yourself every moment of the day. But it is wise for the truth to be known or it can only lead to what could become one self-destructive event after another. The truth can set you free and bring you to a place in your life where you feel content and at peace with yourself. With that in mind I must add a note concerning my father. Soon his life unraveled completely, and I would alone re-establish a connection. He was after all my father. It was awkward for he continued making poor decisions. Thus our relationship changed. In many ways I became the “adult,” and remained dutifully doing what I could for him and speaking the truth until his death.
JUST, WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Well, just where do we go from here? Hopefully, and even more, prayerfully we will be making decision more wisely. For in truth what we should know by now is that we will all be forced at some time to make more than some innocuous decision, like which pair of shoes to buy. Instead we may be forced to decide whether to continue some form of additional cancer treatment, because the current treatments have not worked. Such a decision as these critical ones will requires strength, all the information possible, and support from your loved ones. Yes, most of us will at some point be faced with such crucial, and complicated decisions. The ones that will require every possible facility one possesses, and some that cannot be put off for long.
Here in what I have written I have tried to present the reality that there are those times of decision. And tried to highlight them with real life stories to bring the truth home. It is how we make those decisions that matter. Is it a leap of faith, just taking a chance that everything will work out, or is it marked by the best information possible, and spending the time necessary considering all the possible out comes? The leap of faith may work out, but it may be better to keep your head considering all the ramifications, who will my decision effect the most, and always to pray, heed that still small voice, which can actually be the Holy Spirit, and thus is never wrong.
A wonderful example of this is that in our first pastorate after we were married. When the senior pastor had taken a prolonged foreign evangelistic tour, we had a wonderful few months of successfully leading the small church ….
(Continued next month)