And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
Owning up to something we did or didn’t do, without pressure, without being found out first, is relatively simple. It might take a little courage, but it’s simple enough to do. We know we did it. Fair cop. I’m guilty. I deserve what I get.
Owning up to who we are can be a little more difficult, because often we can’t distinguish between the real ‘me’ and the one we’ve created for certain circumstances. Home angel, street devil. Or vice versa. The happy, considerate, helpful neighbour who is a terror to live with. The manipulative, vindictive colleague who is a much-respected President of the Parent/Teacher Association. The cheery, outgoing shop assistant who, after 5 o’clock is miserable and lonely, with no one to talk to.
With the onset of emigration came the great reinvention. We could go somewhere no-one knew us and as long as we steered clear of our compatriots we could be whomever we liked. No one would be any the wiser. We could fashion a whole new person with new likes and dislikes, new ideas and outlooks, new ways of doing things. The jokes and stories that others had wearied of at home were imbued with new energy.
The downside of this though was that we had, effectively, no shared history. Without someone to keep us in check, someone with whom we had shared our past, stories would often grow in the telling. A detail here and there changed to suit our audience so that pretty soon it bore little resemblance to what actually had happened but we’d told it so often that it had become the truth – we had, in effect, rewritten history.
Revisionism is a great trick – one very popular with those of us in denial. We have rewritten ourselves so often that we have lost touch with who we really are; with what we really stand for; with what we really believe in. Being able to admit the truth to ourselves is a first step…
With thanks and with hope, until next week, take care