Artist’s Lane: Truth, relevance and ashes


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

Truth has always found itself a topic for litigation, probably today more than ever. How does something that can’t sway from the center line find itself so far out of bounds? The Old Testament warned that there would come a day when good would be called evil and evil would be called good. 

It would be wise to ask, “How does that happen?” How could two opposing views, thoughts or actions be confused one for the other? Likely because we tend to look at things through a lens of relevance. And therein lies the problem. 

Truth never changes. It is an absolute that doesn’t deviate, no matter the course charted. While we may be able to fit the square peg in the round hole, it is still a square peg. 

The best litmus test for truth is time. What was, is, and what is will be. It is an equation that doesn’t get any simpler. Words written or spoken yesterday don’t change their meaning just because a new day dawns. Why, because the circumstance and trajectory that birthed them won’t change, even if we ourselves do. 

In 1998, I wrote the following to my friend: “I have made peace with my ashes. They were part of yesterday’s dreams.” That statement sounds so defeating, but it wasn’t. I was about to make a huge career change, one that would take me further than I even knew possible. 

The ashes I wrote about were relevant to a specific moment in my life. They were a product of years when I owned a signature art gallery. They were from a time when I had a recognized brand at the Dallas Wholesale Market, something that became a commodity on Princess Cruise Line. 

But what was doesn’t lay bare as cinders and embers. It is the bed that produces a phoenix that takes flight. In my case, the peace I made with my ashes gave way to the launch of new endeavors — becoming an author and publisher with works hidden from view until the truth of their origins could materialize. 

My path didn’t change based on my focus. In fact, my direction became clearer as I walked with diligence. While relevance took on different forms, my heart grew stronger as it stayed its course. Isn’t that the very definition of truth? 

What are your ashes? What truth do you hold within that despite the world around you, only needs time to take flight? The bigger question is, are you steadfast in truth so that you will see clearly how your ashes materialize?

A friend once wrote, “Let’s not allow the dark cover of melancholy to cast its pale over us or we’d be enveloped by a cloud of meaninglessness, bitterness and foreboding, which threatens to take the taste of the joy of living from our mouths.” 

Final brushstroke: There is something to be said for walking in truth. Even more so when truth is challenged in a way that twists it beyond recognition. While our path may be riddled with rocks and detours, it is the exercise of the journey that bares our identity. Proverbs 12:19 tells us, “The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” 

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