Monday, February 6, 2012

Truth without Irony

I’d like to continue my reflective commentary on Ursula Le Guin’s Orsinian Tales by making a few more observations about the fourth tale: Conversations at Night.

As I noted before, the story is about two people who live in a time and location of oppression. They are poor and struggling and yet they find each other. The man, Sanzo, was blinded in an accident at work, thus limiting his options and possibilities even more severely. Their love begins when the woman, Lisha, begins visiting him to read to him.

I would like to focus on another of the truths Le Guin showcases in the story.

In a conversation between Lisha and her mother the following dialogue occurs:
“The man is blind, Alitsia!”“I know,” the girl said, without irony.

Truth without irony.

How often does this occur?
How often do we deny the truth rather than lovingly accept it?

Consider these simple, yet awkward examples:
“Is this zit obvious?”
“Does this shirt look ok?”
“I am such an IDIOT sometimes!”

How do you respond to comments like these?
Do you tell the truth in love, or do you lie with a mask of love?
Do you squirm your way out of answering truthfully under the guise of being “nice”?

And what about the more serious times? Do you tell people when they have wronged you? Do you acknowledge imperfections in yourself and others? Do you love me enough to recognize and verbalize my shortcomings? Do you speak the truth in love?

This short passage reminds of a similar passage in C. S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces.
Orual is presented with all the selfishness and evil she has exhibited to that point. She says,
“…It’s true. Isn’t it true?”
And the simple response is:
“Why, child, it is. I could almost be glad; it gives me something to forgive…”

I cried the first time I read that.


When confronted with the black depths of my soul and I ask God, “it’s all true, isn’t it?”
He doesn’t lie, or soften the truth, but he doesn’t just say “yes.” He says,
“Yes, my Child.”

When Satan says to the Almighty Holy God,
“The man is a lustful, prideful, lazy, wasteful, angry sinner."
The Father’s response is simply,
“I know” …with love, and without irony.


3 comments:

anne johns said...

I like this.

DaVonne said...

I have read and retread this several times. I wanted to make sure that I had a comprehensive understanding of this concept of truth without irony. I hadnt been introduced to this particular concept until this post.

I googled "'truth without irony" and read a few pieces on the concept. I looked up the definition of irony. I have made love the theme of the semester with my RA team and had us meditate on a song by Christy Nichols called By Our Love and have had continued conversations around the topic. I have a passionate fire to walk out unconditional love as Corinthians 13 calls us to do.

The truth hurts sometimes. Telling the truth in love can be incredibly difficult. It takes courage, strength, wisdom, maturity and humility etc to do so. I am guilty of " softening the truth" I love the last stanz of your blog when God acknowledges our shortcomings....ith love. Oh, that we would get there. ( selah)

Elfland Ethics said...

Really??
you read a few pieces on the concept?
I need to google.
where do I fit among what was said?
I am guilty of softening or even just avoiding the truth.
I have a long way to grow.

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