I am a big, fat liar.
I lie almost every single day. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.
Because I don’t tell lies designed to hurt people or cheat people or even lies designed to afford me some kind of power or advantage over others. I tell little, white lies designed to boost the spirit and fortify the resolve of both casual acquaintances and the people I love the most.
I do appreciate that some people see a value in complete total honesty: but I don’t want to be around those people. I don't believe that brutal honesty is constructive much of the time, especially not when spirits are low or people are plagued by insecurities.
Let me tell you the kind of honesty in which I believe.
I believe in selective honesty born of hope, of kindness and of need.
I believe that words are like magic beans: that sometimes when you say things in just the right way, you can make them grow into something like truth.
Sometimes impossibly brave words – You can get through this, Things are going to get better, All these trials will make you stronger - come out sounding something like resolve.
Resolve spoken aloud has a funny way of making the heart swell with hope.
And is not hope the seed from which conviction and truth grow?
Have you ever been struck by someone’s weariness, and then made a point of complimenting them on their dress or their hair or the book they are carrying, as if that were the first thing you noticed about them? I have. Don’t tell me it’s not magical to watch a sad face breathe in compliments and breathe out confidence.
Have you ever clutched a crying child to your chest and told them that mommy would always be there, that mommy would always make the hurt go away? I have. Don’t chide me for creating a zone of safety from which my child may freely grow and learn to nurture the strength he will need when he is old enough to discover my duplicity.
Some things, kindness, hope and love, for instance, are more important than the blunt, unvarnished truth: words that impart strength and optimism need not pass a lie detector test.
If a friend of mine raises her tired, hopeful face to me and says, I know I must look terrible, I will smile, touch her cheek, shake my head and say, Don’t be silly, you look beautiful.
If my child runs to me bruised, crying and fearful of the hurts the world has in store I will crush his tiny body to mine, take a deep breath and whisper fiercely, Don’t worry, Mommy will never let anything hurt you again.
If someone I love looks at me with tremulous eyes and asks if everything is going to be okay, I will embrace them, I will reach into the depths of my heart, summon my courage to the sticking point and say in a voice that brooks no doubt, Everything is going to work out just fine, I know it.
And if my pants do catch fire, let them burn: I will be too busy making magic to notice.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I am a big, fat liar.