“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Looking hard at truth when the urge to turn away and seek comfort and reassurance is strong and oh so tempting; if only in that moment could we be so sure of the despair that will always follow if we are not brave enough, bold enough to stare down the truth. It is the hallmark of adulthood to seek the truth and accept it when it may come with a strong dose of pain. As a child we want to be told everything will be all right, that good things happen to good children, that we will always be safe and loved and cared for. Letting go of the drive to seek comfort can be an arduous task, to cling to the imagined safety of it is to hold us away from truth, from reality.
Truth though seeks us out, even as we hide under the covers with eyes tightly closed, it will wait for us to peek. We might as well get up, look the monster in the eye and be done with it. Peering in the mirror, we must ask, what is it that I know? What is the clearest picture I have of myself when I remove all the pillows of comfort and am left with bricks of flaws and failures piled up around me? For starters, one has great material for building a foundation. Using the honest assessment of oneself to begin to grow the inner steel needed to confront whatever hides under the bed, we begin by facing our own truths.
From that solid ground we then begin to assess the truth of those around us and the truth of the greater world. Without the shifting, shimmering gauze of comfort draped over our perceptions we gain stability in the unchanging. Truth becomes a pier sunk deeply; the thing to which we cling is something we can trust, it is not “soft soap and wishful thinking”. This is the ultimate delayed gratification; doing the hardest part first to gain a reward that we mistakenly believe we can have without any effort, only to find that when we have given no effort the reward is hollow and brings pain we thought to avoid. Seek comfort from the truth; be it painful or not, you will have solid footing to take the next steps.