My father has oft said, “Out of your mouth, printed.”
It’s his admonition to be careful what I say because once it’s out there, I can’t take it back. In fact, when I was reading a little Buddhist text recently, I came across this: “there are four verbal good conducts: no lying, abusive language, bearing tales and seductive words.”
It goes on to explain that to lie is to cheat deliberately. How easy is it to let a little white lie slip out to make our journeys easier, our days less complicated? But in fact, it is a temptation to resist. And I’m not preaching here. I am a woman of words, always have been, and I am aware of the power in uttering, typing, printing for all the world to see.
However. We are the sole authors of our lives. The words we choose to put into the air around us are ours and ours alone. I do write about the people in my life but carefully and with great caution. If they are unhappy with that, I can’t devote emotion to it as I know I’ve done my best.
There are two sneaky behaviors I most abhor: lying and pinching. You might be laughing now, but I’ll tell you why – they’re both so subtle, they might almost be missed. Slip it on by, so no one knows. But it’s there. And both do incredible damage.
Pinching – it’s something I never thought about until one of my kids did it to another of my kids. Seriously? A little mark, a sting in the arm, unseen by anyone else. It’s vicious. Malicious. Mean. I can’t stand it. And in fact, I just can’t tolerate deliberate meanness. Life is too short. Life is too important. Why harbor such harsh feelings toward another?
As far as lying goes, it’s just an intricate web that spins itself bigger and bigger. One lie leads to so many more and then you can’t keep track and if it doesn’t eat you up, it’ll reveal itself and someone else will. So it’s just not worth it. No truth is too difficult to admit to.
What we think is so damn important in this very minute often isn’t once the moment has passed. It’s truth in every imaginable scenario. On a mountainside hike, when you’re gasping for breath, it’s really worth it to get to the peak. Your heart may pound and you may feel like turning around, but when you don’t, when you see it through to the end, you’re so glad you got there. And then the climb down is so much easier.
Words to live by this early Wednesday morning. Today is full of client meetings and events: Lutheran Social Services of Michigan in the morning followed by the Jewish Senior Life Senior Dream Cruise this afternoon (1:30-3 pm, come by!) followed by a wine-chocolate pairing with Schakolad Birmingham Chocolate at Vintner Cellars in Royal Oak. A full glorious day.
And outside my office window, cars are speeding past in the early cool morning. The sun is pink in the sky, clouds gleaming, the day full of promise. Who knows what lies ahead? It’s impossible to go beyond this moment and really, there is absolutely no need. For all you have lies in your open palms, lovely to look at, precious to hold, absolutely wonderful for as long as it lasts.