Moments of Truth

Cassandra (Cassie) was one of the nation’s premier wood workers.  In fact, she was often called a wood artist since her works were one-of-a-kind masterpieces.  As a woman in what is traditionally a male occupation, she had a lot to overcome to gain acceptance.  Now in her 60’s, she only accepted projects that she felt would contribute real meaning to the lives of others.  Many of these projects were for churches, community centers, and other public places.  She was financially well off, so she never charged for her work.

In an interview, she revealed something she had never spoken of.  “When I was getting started, I was fortunate to land a very lucrative job.  It was from a successful entrepreneur who encouraged young artists, like me, by commissioning work from us which would establish our reputations.  I was close to finishing her project when my hand slipped and nicked the wood.  The blemish was not something that anyone would see, but I knew it was there.  I had to decide whether to start over.  This was not an easy decision, because starting over would create a serious financial burden for me.  But I had no choice.  I had to start over.  That decision, as I think about it, defined who I am as a person.  I don’t believe I could have continued in my wood working career if I had made another decision.”

What Cassie described in this interview is a moment of truth.  It was a moment when she had to be true to the person she wanted to be.  All of us face moments of truth in our lives.  Some may not be so defining as what Cassie faced, but each of them help determine who we are.

Moments of truth may come in many different forms.  Some may involve whether to put forward work that we know is not our best.  Some may involve deciding whether to reach out to and support others in need.  Some may challenge our personal beliefs.  Some may involve a tough decision where the easier choice goes against our values.  Some may test our faith.

When confronted with a moment of truth, the question that needs to be asked is how will my choice define who I am and want to be.  If Cassie had chosen differently, she would have regretted this for the rest of her life.  And it would have eroded the personal pride in the works that she created.

Moments of truth are tough.  But like Cassie, when moments of truth are won, they create a sense of personal pride that will be life lasting.  Think about how you were prepared to win the moments of truth in your life.  The difficulty in answering this question may say something about our society.

* * *

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

– Stanza four in a poem by Robert Frost

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