Sincerity Q4

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 7, Q4

Sincerity: “Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”

Personal notes:

  • Such an important one to practice;
  • Especially with friends & family;
  • Be an open book to the ones you love.

Before this year, Sincerity was sorely lacking; brevity and levity, rather than “innocently and justly.”  The simple “you look beautiful” or “I love you,” was hidden, and shared a quarter of the time it was thought. The words were always there, shouted within, but crushed in their infancy. To clarify, these weren’t childish impulses or outrageous declarations, but mature, reasoned statements I could not say, and I could not understand why. Why keep such innocent thoughts locked away? Why is so much left unsaid?

We guard our true words and noble thoughts. We lock them away out of fear and shame. It takes courage to say these words, courage to let them see air. Paradoxically, we live in a world where it’s easy and expected to share glib, ignoble thoughts — quickly slipped into breath, free from hinderance and depth. Silence is a very big part of Sincerity. The more I was silent, the more my thoughts could settle and mature, the more I could distill what I meant to say, the more I could remember, remember my bearing, and remember to be just.

This past weekend, courage failed me. I saw my grandmother. She is dying. Most of what I wanted to say was left unsaid. Instead, I sat there and held her hand. That was all the Sincerity I could muster.  What was so scary about telling an old lady I love her, and that I am sad to see her go? I don’t know, but the words were trapped — I heard them in my mind, and felt them wither in my chest.

What is scary about telling a child you love them? Or that they make you happy? Nothing. Nothing is scary about it. I know because I say it every day to my children. Why then, is it scary to say these same words to an adult? Even one so close as your wife or grandmother. I don’t know. I certainly don’t have the answer. But I do know that after a year, I am getting better, getting closer. Sincerity is a paradox, it is born from restraint and silence and it takes courage to ensure it is not bound by them.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 8, Q4

Justice: “Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

Personal notes:

  • Be true to others;
  • Act honorably;
  • Avoid expediency.

As we approach the New Year, what could be a better than starting off with a promise to live a more Just life?