As I was waiting to pay my bill at the store last week, I was observing the magazine headlines. The majority had a picture of Prince George and his proud parents Prince William and Duchess Kate. This brought to my mind the images of the day when the baby was introduced to the world. As the broadcasting companies compared the pictures of Will, Kate, and baby George with the ones of William’s own birth with his parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana, I started to reflect on the differences between these two couples. One that stands clearly is the happiness that seems to be present in the younger couple, compared with the lack of happiness and fulfillment that the older couple seemed to have experienced since early in their marriage. What did it take for this younger couple to be as happy as they look now?
Many things had to take place so that Will and Kate would be happy today, but one of them, I believe, is that Diana acknowledged and accepted her truth that her fairy tale marriage was painfully ending, and that she needed to do something about it. After much private and public struggle between Charles and Diana, the palace announced their separation and divorce. This news was shocking because it seemed to be more customary for people at this level to stay in a relationship for the sake of the institution. By accepting her truth, Diana was trying to survive, end a bad marriage, and go on with her life, but she also, most likely unconsciously, was paving the way for her sons to have happier relationships. By doing this, she changed her family tree, and affected the monarchy’s future.
When the time came for William to marry, and with the intention of avoiding the same mistakes, the monarchy gave him more freedom. He was able to make his own decision and married the one he loved, a commoner. Time will tell if this fairy tale will have a happy ending, but for now William and Kate seem really happy, and with their happiness they have brought new hope to the monarchy.
As I reflect on this, I am reminded of another recent worldwide event that is also changing an institution. In 2012 Pope Benedict XVI decided that he could not be Pope anymore. Most likely we will never know the exact truth behind his decision, but for whatever reason valid enough for him, he decided to resign, becoming the first Pope to do so in centuries. By accepting his truth with honesty and courage, he opened a door for transformation within the Catholic Church.
These moments of accepting the truth with honesty and courage, and finding liberation for one’s self, family or institution remind me of Jesus’ words: “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” But accepting the truth may be hard, painful, and sometimes shameful. But it is more painful to not accept it. It means a death sentence that will progress slowly but surely and lethally in our lives or institutions.
As Christians, often some of us have a hard time accepting our truth. It may be because we fear judgment and rejection. Perhaps some of us may feel pressured by other Christians, who pretend to have perfect lives, to also have impeccable lives to show that God has truly worked on us. Accordingly, a perfect life seems to be required for an effective witnessing.
Somehow things went wrong as some Christians seem to glorify perfect lives, instead of giving the glory to the God who in his love and mercy, gives us the opportunity to experience abundant lives. They seem to glorify perfection as if they were a done product, and they forget that all of us, Christians, are in a process of growth and maturation where grace and mercy must be offered to everybody, including ourselves. Major requirements for this process to work are honesty and courage as we accept our truth, whatever it is. Even though it may be hard and painful, we have Jesus’ promise: “The truth will make you free.” And as the other things that Jesus said, this one really works too!