February 9, 2015–To Thine Own Self Be True

~by Louis Templeman

Lately, my brother regularly disabuses me of the lies he told me when we were younger. Such as: “Anne Parnell really liked you. She always wanted you to call her.” That thought nestled over me like a cast net of gauze – spider web sticky. He meant that as a compliment but I found myself irritated.

I just got on Medicare. I no longer think of high school girls. However, back when I did I now realize she must have messaged that idea – real subtle and feminine like – because I was toying with the very scary idea of asking her for a date. I ran this venture passed my teenage brother who laughed at me and jeered, “You ain’t good enough for Anne. She’d just felt sorry for you.”

Being a person of faith I believed him. What I mean is I somehow felt it was impolite to assume someone was lying. But the real problem was my serious addiction to the problematic ideation that everyone was smarter than me. Cooler than me. More popular than me. And so, I left her subtle invitation hanging like a pair of boots from a telephone wire. And, I remained in the miserable safety of loneliness.

Lies. The things we believe. “To thine own self be true”: Shakespeare, I think, said that. I never got hold of this weighty truth. I enter into the final chapters of my life I am starting to embrace that very beautiful statement. I can trust my own ideas. I can work at being happy. There is nothing essentially selfish going on if I find myself smiling from my head down to my toes. Whole people are happy people.

Wholeness (or even holiness) can dismiss the opinion of others. Wholeness is free from the addiction to approval. Wholeness means forgiving my brother and understanding he was a damaged soul born into the same dysfunctional system as I was. Wholeness is hindsight that does not mire in the past but redirects me to the present. Working out such thoughts in this second half of my life feels right.

As the permanent tremor in my left hand indicates, I am entering the final laps of my race. So, it is time I learn to enjoy loving myself. After all, God loves me and he is a good reference.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D.

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