but not the spider in its complex web, fallen
from grace but walking on air, vigilant in ways
that harden the heart, getting its appetite back.
--Eamon Grennan, "Windowgrave"
Sometimes, we are surprised by our own ability to speak the truth, even when we think that we are telling a lie. We think we have formulated our
own story, that we have built something for ourselves, something we have formed without bothering to think of the way it relates to the rest of the outside world.
Photina does not even know that she is speaking the truth. Her fumbling, awkward lie: I have no husband is treated with such tender mercy.
You are right in saying this, He says. He takes what was meant as a lie, and finds, deep within it, certain truth. Christ looks with such mercy on us, he sees us in our grasping, half-truth darkness, and reaches down into the mess, to shine some light, and help us make truth out of our messy lives.
I wonder what I have said--what lies I have uttered--that have been transformed into truth. There are so many tangled threads of stories that wander through our lives. They sometimes get bunched up in the most unattractive snarl. As I fret away at the threads, trying to force them out of their hard knot, back into a seemly, untangled flow of the narrative, they only knit together more tightly.
It is only when we simply state what we have seen: whether it is unseemly, shoddy, or snarled, that we will ever be able to untangle what it means.
We are so masterful at evading what we loathe in ourselves and in our lives. But until we name it, we cannot begin to untangle it.
And, even if it seems that we can never undo the intricate webs we've weaved, we have the example of Photina, who, even deep within her lie, discovered truth.