My dad used to tell his friends of the time when barely a toddler I blurted something out while he was negotiating to sell his horse. I told the other party they were trying to find faults with the horse because they didn't want to pay what the horse was worth. I was three years old and truth came out of my mouth like a wild spring.
My parents worked hard at modifying my enthusiastic delivery.
Now that I'm older and wiser, I pride myself on the simple principle that truth, the whole truth must come out somehow, and much of it in plain speech. I tend to appreciate food when it is presented in ways that all its elements are easily identifiable too.
And that brings me to today's topic. At our age, with our experience, with few days ahead, we are obligated by ethics and morals to state the truth and face it with grace. We can't hide it to save face; we can't hide it because someone will be offended; we can't hide it because we'll lose friends and acquaintances.
The horrible truth on my mind this morning is the tragedy in Boston and all the tragedies that involved young people, in Columbine, in Newtown. The perpetrators all felt like outsiders, friendless in most cases. As a nation we say words like "mentally ill" and then we bury that truth in the rubble of blame and the carnage of fear.
People with mental illnesses, people who are suffering unbearable abuse, people with major paranoia and insecurities, people who hurt and can't cope with life's bumps, all of them just a minute away from committing abominable acts towards themselves, or towards innocent victims, living right in our house,or next door, among sane, smart, law abiding folks, these people walk right along us in malls, schools, churches, public and private offices.
Can we say we don't know what to do?
Can we say that just throwing a label their way does no good?
Can we say that we have been silent too long?
Can we say that "mental health" has to be our new frontier?