I’ve been told never to tell lies. It doesn’t matter the color–they’re still lies–so I’m told. I had it drummed into my head as a little girl. My faith talks about lying and how it rots the morale. I know all that and every fiber of my being was arranged by upbringing and teaching to never even start–they say one lie leads to another and then another. And before you know it, you’re in tangle of lies, so mangled it can choke you.
I know, I know–don’t even start.
But this morning, I found myself on the grey side of lying.
I called my daughter’s school to tell them I need to check my daughter out early.
Why? They need to know.
Urhh…the little goodness in me is tapping me on the head, “Go ahead, tell them.”
But my better judgment took over and I managed to blurt, “Well, she has a doctor’s appointment.”
She hung up–apparently happy with my reason. I hung up, too, but a nagging voice was berating my morale, “That’s a lie and you know it.”
Shh…it’s Ok, I tell my little prim and proper voice. How can I tell the school that I’m just taking my girl out early because she’s suffering from exhaustion. The school has worked her to the bones–night after night of torrential homework and she’s is badly in need of a little rest.
That plain truth would never fly. Would it? It would be lame and the “too school for cool” bit would rear its ugly head and scold me for being a lame mom. So for the sake of expediency and convenience, a little harmless lie is not going to hurt anyone. Right?
I don’t know whether it’s right. Theologians and moralists have argued about this for years and still, there’s no definite conclusion. Or so I hope to believe. I’m neither and though I agree that lies (the kinds that hurt and are devious in nature) as a whole is not a wholesome thing, I don’t have a compelling conviction on the little lies that I sometimes find myself telling for a variety of reasons:
- I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, so I cloaked my responses with what they want to hear. Been there? “Yes, food is umm..interesting ” when deep down, you know it would be mean to say, “It tastes like crap.”
- I don’t want to explain a complicated situation to a nosy inquirer, so I distill my story to a synopsis of “only what I want to tell.”
- My spouse is being OCD, so for the sake of harmony in the house, I tell him what will placate him and save the family from endless interrogation and discord. I do that a lot–part of my job description.
- My family overseas (in Singapore) wants to know if I’m doing OK, so I generally tell them I’m well, to save them from worrying about me and feeling helpless 12,000 miles away.
- My kids want to know why I’m crying, so I tell them I’ve an allergy, so they wouldn’t know that the finances are tight, that there are impending lawsuits regarding the guy who sold us a piece of land with promises to build a road and then ran away. (Actually they know a little, but not the full extent–why would I clutter their brains with worrisome details?)
- No, I really don’t want to go to that event, so I plan myself a little event, just so, I’ve an excuse when “cornered” into attending.
Lies. Lies. And more. I can’t help myself. I wonder what would happen if everyone has a “Pinochio” nose for a lie barometer. Mine may be the longest, I don’t know. But sometimes, for the sake of sanity, for the sake of peace and civility (so my rationalization says), it’s necessary to use my “lie” discretion to tell a little white lie.
So, there, I’ve made my confession and in so doing, I hope to abscond myself from guilt. Now, that’s the truth.