How Truthful Can I Be?

Oliver – “People are always asking me what did I miss the most…air conditioning, satellite radio, tagliet – uh- ta…”

Helena – “Tagliatelle?”

Oliver – “Right…but those are the answers I give people because those are the answers they’re expecting.”

Helena – “Why can’t you just be truthful?”

Oliver – “I don’t know how truthful I can be.”

Oliver gives these answers to what he “missed most” because it is all people can understand.  That is really true.  I have found this a lot when I talk to people about my time overseas and times of great hardship…most of the time they don’t seem to have the foggiest idea what I’m talking about, so it’s easier to just keep my answers predictable.  If people are not able to actively listen then short predictable answers save me/Oliver the frustration of reliving a difficult story, trying to put it into words, only to have the point completely missed or misunderstood.

I also really like how Oliver says, “I don’t know how truthful I can be.”  I totally agree with this and feel the same way.  How much are you really supposed to say?  There is a such thing as too much information and it’s also possible to hurt someone by describing things they are not ready for.  For example, what would Thea do if Oliver talked in detail about being tortured?  She isn’t ready for the that information.  Telling the whole truth isn’t always what people want either… it can lead to a lot of trouble,  misunderstanding, and rejection (an essay “Is There Room In The Church” on this topic).  Putting aside the fact that Oliver probably can’t tell his story (PTSD stuff)…How truthful should Oliver really be?


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