Conor: Your stories never made sense to me.
The Monster: Because humans are complicated beasts. You believe comforting lies, while knowing full well the painful truth that makes those lies necessary. In the end, Conor, it is not important what you think. It is only important what you do.
Conor: So what do I do?
The Monster: What you did just now. You speak the truth.
Conor: That’s all?
The Monster: You think it’s easy? You were willing to die rather than speak it.
Wow. In that climactic scene from the movie, A Monster Calls (2016), Conor, a twelve-year-old boy facing the coming death of his mother, is challenged by The Monster, who visits him and tells him three stories over the course of some nights.
What is it in me, that doesn’t want to speak the painful truth? Scare. Shame. Scorn. My past is ripe with a multitude of scars that cover me like a burn victim. Just lucky to be alive, but wondering, why?
For some reason, I believe my necessary lies are ones that I need to bring myself comfort. I’ve already felt enough pain. Scars numb me – I’m just lucky to be alive!
What kind of life is that?
In my mind, it seems like something better than reality. Lies serve me bringing a type of comfort that I could never get from reality. So I hesitate in speaking the truth.
It’s not easy to speak the truth, when you are wrapped in lies.
Sometimes I do speak the truth, but in a “Yes, But” sort of way.
- Yes, I am a worthy man, BUT I still screw up too much.
- Yes, I am loved, BUT how come it’s so hard to connect?
- Yes, I have a future, BUT I struggle with my past IN the present.
If it’s not important what I think, but what I do.* (*I get that it’s important what I think. However, what I think doesn’t always result in what I do. Then, what must I do?)
I must speak my truth.
What is my truth?
- I am a Broken man.
- I am a Battered man.
- I am a man who is Loved and Worthy in spite of that.
I am a complicated Beast who lives in a YES, BUT world. A man who embraces the YES, BUT – letting the YES take the driver’s seat, with the BUT in the passenger’s seat.
It is not important what I think, it is only important what I do. What must I do? I must live my story.
What is my story? I have found love and purpose and redemption in the tribe of boy/men, and we help each other to embrace our true complicated selves.
I need to live that story to the world. It may not always make sense, but it’s MY story, MY truth.
By Tim White
Tim completed his initial weekend in 2013. He has staffed many weekends and leads L.I.F.E. Recovery for men at Willow Creek Crystal Lake. With an M.Div from Bethel Seminary, he’s a former senior pastor and now pastoral coach. Tim fulfills his mission by guiding men to greater connection through vulnerable transparency. TimWhiteCoaching.com