A Eulogy for Truth
Ah, Truth. I knew her well.
Well, as well as anyone could know her, I suppose. From my earliest memories, I can see her there in the background – smiling, laughing as I played my childhood games, gently guiding as I gazed in wonder at the world around me and tried to take it all in. She was always there, I suppose, even when I could not see her. She had this way of following me around, not in a threatening way, but usually supportive and encouraging. She was the big sister I never had. I clung to her in my darkest hours, crying at whatever hurt I had endured or atrocity I had witnessed. But she did not baby me – oh no sir! When I was out of line, I could not escape her penetrating gaze, and she would nag me and nag me until I finally admitted I was wrong and made the necessary changes in my life and behavior. (Even as I stand here, reading this prepared eulogy, it’s as though I can still hear her penetrating voice. Oh how I miss her!) She could be blunt and harsh at times, but I knew I could trust her stings – you know, the wounds of a friend and all that jazz. And trust her I did – more than life itself.
At one point, if you can believe it, she was one of the most well-respected matrons in our community! It may be hard for some of you here today to remember, but our country’s political and religious leaders from the lowest to the highest levels used to look to Truth for guidance. Not all of them, of course. There were always charlatans who tried to disparage her, to bring her into disrepute for their own nefarious purposes. But she was strong and stood up to their attacks, and for longer than most of us can remember she guided our leaders to correct injustice, to spread equality and freedom, and to care for the least of those among us. It’s true that in her waning years, she fell out of fashion. Her enemies grew in number, and their tactics to discredit her grew ever more insidious and effective. In the end, her influence was reduced to platitudes and meaningless gestures. They would still pay her lip service, but would ignore her counsel when it came time to act. And yet, she was ever graceful and full of class, reminding us all that she was there should we ever need her, even as they mocked her.
Remembering the circumstances of her death still fills me with shock and horror. Words cannot express my anger at those who murdered her in broad daylight, stabbing her over and over until she bled out and was no more. We knew they were coming for her. They announced it loudly. It was a symbol of their power. Some of us tried to defend her, but we were too few in number, and eventually they overcame us and took her. I don’t know if I can ever get past that. But my anger at those people is eclipsed by the anger that burns within me at that vast crowd who stood by, listening to her tormented screams, and did nothing to save her because they were afraid. They claimed to love her, but weren’t willing to sacrifice *anything* to try and save her. In many ways, it is not the ones who were holding the knives that are responsible for her death. Instead, Truth died because too many people who claimed to love her loved comfort more. If that’s what they call love… I do not believe in Hell, but sometimes I really wish there were one for people like that. And yet, I am told that in her dying moments, too weak to make a sound, she looked at each person in the crowd and mouthed the words “I forgive you.” Even in her death, she haunts me, and pushes me to be a better man, to follow her example. I will never be able to reach her potential, but with everything that I am until I breathe my last, I intend to try.
She was one of my closest friends. At times, she was my only friend. But – and perhaps I’m just repeating myself now – she was always there for me when I needed her. I know she rests in peace, and yet I cannot escape this feeling that she is still with us somehow. I know that’s just wishful thinking on my part, an inability to let go and move on, but I *do* believe that we have the ability to make this moment meaningful. May those of us who knew her and tried to live by her example now go out and be her voice. May we not let her many sacrifices go in vain. May we carry on her legacy, in the hopes that someday the smoldering embers of Truth within us once again burst into flame. Until then, friends, let us hold closely to one another. We are in dark times, and there may be darker times yet to come, but all is not lost. We have everything she taught us, and in Truth there is power still. We must not let her memory die!
Rest in peace, sweet Truth. Until we meet again…