Bending Reality

I’ve been brought up to tell the truth and I dare say I’ve always done a fantastic job. But now that I think of it, the ‘truth’ could always do with a little bit of whitewashing now and then.

People call this a white lie and any self-righteous person will recoil at the very idea of making peace with something so horribly taboo.

I’m beginning to think there are occasions when reality can be bent just a little bit, especially when the situation demands it. It’s easy to overlook the incredible power that a simple stroke of whitewash can give, in mitigating a bad situation and soothing it into a better place. What’s even better is that it accomplishes far more than a bucket load of explanation!

One perfect example of this is when I was a little kid—probably around five years old or so. I can’t remember exactly how, but I’d just come upon the realization that death was inevitable.

I was totally shocked to know that I too was doomed to die some day and I simply could not bear the thought.

I can still recall that feeling of panic rising in me as I confronted my mother about this.

“You mean all of us die?” I asked, quite horrified.

“Yes,” she replied, taking the time to sit me down and explain quite seriously that that was just how it was.

“But I don’t want to die,” I whimpered desperately.

Young as I was, I was fully aware of the concern in my mother’s eyes as she seemed to understand my fear, yet felt justifiably bound by parental responsibility.

“But we all have to die,” she explained patiently, watching with a tinge of sadness as I crumbled before her very eyes.

There and then you see, my world was shattered!

Up till then I’d been pretty sure that my mum could fix any problem—and here she was, admitting that she was powerless to save my life!

Most sensible people will agree that my mum’s response was very reasonable indeed.

I on the other hand, believe that a ‘white lie’ here would’ve been totally justified.

In my opinion it would’ve been that soft cushion of hope that had the power to soothe a childhood fear and pave the way to accepting the inevitable at a more suitable time.

My own response as a mother would’ve been totally different. (In fact I’d been waiting patiently all these years for my own kids to come along and ask me the same question, but unfortunately they never did, lol.)

I’d have said, “Yes I too have heard that we all die, but I’m not sure that has to be the case for everyone.”

I’d wait for that to sink in before I continued quite matter-of-factly, “I’ll just tell God that you don’t want to die …and you won’t have to, alright?”

I’m sure any mother could’ve gotten away with this, because especially at the age of five, mothers mean the world to their kids—mine certainly did! Of course everything changes with the onset of the teen years, when almost anything a parent says seems downright ridiculous—but that’s a different story.

People make too much of a deal about ‘always speaking the truth’.  Because when you think about it, the story of Santa Claus is the jolliest white lie ever told!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

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