Monday, October 27, 2008

Lies and Social Grace

When I was a teenager growing up in a rather small village in the middle of nowhere, my father raised me to never lie. Lying it seemed, was something that sooner or later would catch up with one.

In the small village, the price of lying could be costly as a man was only as good as his word.

He did however teach me " Sometimes, you don't need to tell someone everything you know".
It wasn't until I was older that I discovered that this is a form of lying known as "a lie of omission".

My mother taught me about the same time the concept "That if you have nothing good to say about a person, best not to say anything at all." It seem that this too, may be a form of lying.

One other thing she taught me was the concept of "The White Lie", those little "harmless" lies we tell throughout the day to keep people happy. The otherwise harmless lies that grease the wheels of society, love, work, and friendship.

It seems that throughout my life I used all of these types of "good" lies to keep friends happy, the work place calm, and my wife of 30 years content.

What I thought I was doing was building a community of friends, family, and coworkers by using such techniques, it seems that perhaps I could be wrong, all I might have done is become the consummate liar...

Or not.

I had a chance to test "my" community 2 years ago when my family's life was turned upside down with the near death of my teen son, & my wife's battle with cancer.

Both events happened at the same time.

Even though we had full health insurance in the US system, the bills quickly pilled up. I found myself facing almost $90,000. in short term medical debt and debtors who wanted their money... now.

When the news spread of our plight, my internet and local communities came together and helped us in our time of crisis. Most of the bills got paid off with the help of my communities. There were fund raisers, parties and random checks sent to help from all over the US. Prayers were said on our behalf all over the world.

For those of you who have seen the end of the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" you'll know what I mean by the statement " I felt just like George Bailey".

I had no idea how many people's lives I and my wife touched until our darkest hour.

It seems that my parents had taught me how to be a good person and not the consummate liar after all.

1 comment:

La Bete said...

That's a really nice story - great that people would support you like that.