What is meant by transparency?

Did you grow up hiding things under the rug?
By “things,” I mean feelings, events that became secrets—large and small
that became ENORMOUS because they were secret.

It’s impossible to guesstimate the toll that an unspoken fear
has on one’s future self, choices, family, friends, time…

Here’s a story:

A mother and daughter prepare for the daughter’s wedding. Sparks fly.
The daughter says, “You’ll be celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary your way;
I’d like to celebrate my wedding my way.”

Mother responds: “I don’t know that there’s a reason to celebrate that day.”

Daughter asks: “You mean because Grandma chose not to be there?”

Mother answers: “Oh, Grandma was there alright.” A soft look crosses her face:
“The ceremony was beautiful. It was after that it was horrible.”

Mother walks away.

Daughter is puzzled and approaches Dad to ask him what this is about;
she had always been told that Grandma had chosen to go to the movies instead
of to the wedding.

“Oh no,” says Dad. “Your Grandmother was there. In fact, she made it ugly.”

More prodding from Daughter produces this story:

“The wedding was at Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment building.
Your Grandmother threw the flower girls’ bouquets down the stairs and then
upended the food tables. She accused your Grandpa of fathering illegitimate
children with some of the guests. Your mother blames herself.”

Nearly 50 years of blaming herself for her mother’s clearly mentally ill behavior?

Daughter assigned flower management to Mother who basked in the glow
of a task that she loves. Daughter’s wedding day came. She included Mother
in some of the prepping (a makeup artists, flower distribution) and then told
her that she should just relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

Mother was as much a belle of the ball as the bride.

Months later, Mother says to Daughter:
“I asked your Aunts (the sisters-in-law because this Mother was the only girl with 4 boys)
if they thought it was my fault that Grandma behaved the
way she did at my wedding.”


“They said, ‘absolutely not.’” And then there were tears and voices breaking.

Imagine. 50 years carrying around a burden of blame and shame without ever
asking anyone for support.

This story re-affirms in me my desire to keep the windows open and clean:

Ask the questions to which I need answers. Ask MYSELF questions.
Put the information on the table. Acknowledge the mistakes I make, the hurts
I cause…so that we can move forward and onward and upward.

NO ONE should live with the weight of unreasonable self-blame for any length of time
much less FIFTY YEARS!

No one.

This Daughter still loses her patience with her Mother.

But this Daughter considers the damage done by this secret eating away
at the heart and soul of this Mother for all those years and is amazed and awed
that she managed to find and bring so much joy into life.

This Daughter still sighs in exasperation when this Mother is so untrusting
of the love in her husband’s eyes after now 73 years.

But this Daughter appreciates the struggle and how that veil still hangs
drearily over the eyes that only might see the light of that love shining so brilliantly
for everyone else to see for all those years.

“My Bride” is what this Dad still calls his wife of 73 years.
And he says it with what this Daughter imagines is the same soft, sweet, lasting
fullness as he said it all those years ago.

Let your light shine.
Let your words echo across all the mountains of your life.
Let your voice ring with clarity and calm,
with its fear and its longing,
with its love and its loss.

Lay the letters of those words on the table of your life,
creating authenticity and truth as much as we’re capable of
in this life.

Let that transparency guide you home.
to you.
and to those you love.


All that you do? Do it with joy!

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