I Gotta Be Me!

I gotta be me. I mean, who else could I be? I could be anyone I choose to be, I suppose. I’ve been to enough places, met enough people, and read enough books to be anyone or anything that I would like to be. I could take a little of that person, a dab of that person, the flavor of some place I’ve been, and the style of something that I’ve read a become anyone I want to be. That would make me an imposter and that would not be honest. More to the point that would be lying. I have found that lying will land you into more trouble than fishing with dynamite will, especially if you’re married to a woman like “Swede”. I don’t know how politicians do it. Well…the truth is…even they don’t lie very well. The problem with lying is that you have to have the memory capacity to remember who you told what lie to and when you told it. If you tell enough lies to enough different people, then remembering gets tough to do. When those people are close enough to overlap and they “mingle” among themselves, the lies are revealed. Usually,when that happens (and it will sooner or later), there is a reckoning coming!

But I gotta be me! Yes, I could say that I am that which I am not. What would be gained? If I am ever found to not be who and what I say I am, then I have violated trust that was gained by deceptive means. What has been gained? If I were to promise something on my word (or my good name) and then don’t deliver, what has been gained? Nothing has been gained. I have lost the ear of that person who was listening or the eyes of that person who was reading probably never to be reacquired again. But, for a moment, let’s make it more personal. I’m not talking about you and me. I’m talking about you and your spouse, your parents, your children, your work colleagues, or your employer.

Let’s say that you tell that “little white lie” to appease or defuse a minor situation at hand, and you get away with it. You start to get a little proud of yourself thinking fast on your feet like that. Maybe, if you have a conscience, you may even feel ashamed. You get over it pretty quickly. Then another situation pops up and you tell a lie that trends towards a light shade of gray. No harm has been done.  But still, you get away with it. The next thing you know, you’re telling cold, black hearted lies that cause harm physically or emotionally to yourself and others.

You are probably thinking, “Oh that’ll never happen to ME!”

Take it from me, it has happened. It can happen. It will happen. I’ve been there and done that. Here’s a stinger of truth for you. You are no better than I am.

Here’s a case on this point. Once “Swede” called me from work and asked if I’d hung up some clothes that she’d left laid out on the bed. I had not hung the clothes up and I was busy with a project that I was working on. Instead of admitting that I had not done so, I told her that I had. She accepted it as truth and I went back to work on my project and forgot to hang those clothes up in the closet.

When she arrived home and found those clothes still on the bed I was, for lack of a better term, busted. The look on her face told me that I’d broken her heart by inadvertently telling her a “little white lie”. I’d rather face her wrath (and her wrath can be substantial at times) than suffer the heartache of losing her trust.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? You forgot to hang up some clothes!” Well, the big deal is this. For the greater part of her life, almost EVERYONE lied to the “Swede” about EVERYTHING. She cannot, and rightfully so, tolerate lying. In a healthy relationship there is no room for lying. The sting of the truth has no comparison to the gaping wound inflicted by a lie. Her point was, as I soon learned, if I’d lie about something as simple as hanging up clothes, then what else would I lie about? Lying, even those “little white lies”, lead into suspicion. Suspicion leads into distrust. Believe me, distrust can be deadly to a relationship. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, roll the dice. Lie to your spouse. Better yet, make a promise to a child and don’t deliver on it. They WILL remember.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. I gotta be me!

Whether you like me, love me, or hate me is a choice that you have to make. I choose to love you as a person regardless of your choices. As I have learned in my own relationships with my wife, children, co-workers, employers, and church family, I will NEVER lie to you. It’s not worth it! People lie to me all the time. People will look me in the eye and lie to me knowing that I know they are lying to me. Most people find that offensive. However, I look at them and see what I used to be, and I feel sorry for them. I’m not saying that I’m better than they are. I’m saying that they haven’t learned what I’ve learned, yet.

You see, it doesn’t matter if you lie to me. Yeah, it hurts. But, what bothers me more is when people lie to themselves knowing that they are lying to themselves and then start believing their own lies. Just because you believe a lie that you’ve told yourself or a lie that the devil has fabricated, packaged with a pretty bow, and sold cheaply doesn’t make the lie hold any truth. A lie is still a lie.

Another case in point. I love fly fishing. I enjoy catching any kind of fish on a fly rod. I enjoy attempting to tie flies to fish with. Now, I can tell myself that the fly that I just tied is the perfectly tied #12 Parachute Adams ever tied. If you’re not a fisherman, trust me, there is such a thing. Now, it might be the BEST #12 Parachute Adams that I’VE ever tied but it is very unlikely that it is the most PERFECT #12 Parachute Adams that has EVER been tied. The truth is that my fly looks like something that morphed out of the Chernobyl meltdown and if I were to take a dozen of those flies to sell to my friends at the fly shop, they would laugh and tell me to come back in six months after I’d learned to tie the fly correctly. The truth is that my fly MIGHT be GOOD ENOUGH to fool a fish, but it exhibits enough mistakes that make it commercially laughable. But what do those guys at the fly shop know? I never really liked them anyway.

People justify their words and actions in many ways. The most used device is lying.

Life Lesson #1, don’t tell a lie. I’m not talking about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. Well, that is kind of taking advantage of the faith of the innocent. As I remember, there was a slight feeling of betrayal felt when I found out who Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were. Yeah, I got over it. You did to. But don’t lie to others and don’t lie to yourself!

Nothing good EVER came out of a lie that lasted long term! Nothing!

I’ve gotta be me! I choose to tell the truth! God Bless!


In His Grip,

Lonnie Richardson

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