“If you love enough, you lie a lot.” -Tori Amos

  • Them: “Does this make me look fat?”
  • You: “Of course not.” Ten pounds of sugar in a five-pound bag.
  • Them: “I love singing. Do you think I have a good voice?”
  • You: “Absolutely.” If I cram enough Kleenex in my ears.
  • Them: “Do you think I’m smart?”
  • You: “Totally.” If by ‘smart,’ you mean… ‘kinda dumb.’

Lies. We all tell them. They’re not lies to hurt people; on the contrary. They’re fabrications created with the express intent of protecting someone’s precious feelings. It’s an inflammatory statement to say that we all lie, because, well, I’m calling everyone liars. But it’s really just me being hopeful; choosing to believe that people still care enough about other peoples’ feelings to provide the occasionally requisite lie.

I was faced with this not too long ago when I was at Walgreen’s and a sweet woman approached me carrying two boxes of hair color.  “Excuse me, ” she said. “Can I ask your opinion?”

“Absolutely!” I replied. And, yes, I did respond with an exclamation point. That was not added for dramatic emphasis in the retelling of this riveting story. I have opinions and I love nothing more than actually being invited to share them. I was loving this lady already.

“Which of these colors do you think matches my natural hair color?” She asked, raising a hand to gesture toward her head–her head of phenomenally fake-looking hair. Her head that sported one of the worst dye jobs in all of Christendom. It strongly resembled the purple hue of a pair slouchy socks I wore with pride in the fourth grade. That’s right: purple. In other words: amethyst, mulberry, plum, heliotrope, violet, eggplant,  puce. All colors I can say with a great deal of certainty are not to be found naturally on any head of hair.

But, if she was intent on lying to me about said hair color, I was not going to fault her for that. If a man can cling with pathetic desperation to a few lingering strands of hair and comb them from one side of his skull to the other in a sad attempt at convincing himself and the world that he’s not actually balding, then who am I do deny this poor woman the opportunity to assure herself and those around her that God had somehow endowed her with a riot of grape-colored hair?

So, without missing a beat, I jumped right onto her crazy train and joined in with the lies. How can I not be merciful to someone with hair the color of  grape Kool Aid? I motioned toward one of the boxes she held–does it really matter which? After all, neither of them were marked, ‘purple.’

“This one.” I assured her. “That one looks just like your real hair.” She beamed up at me. I felt good. It was a happy lie. She was a woman radiant with gratitude.  She seemed impressed with how quickly I had responded; as though I had somehow evidenced the validity of her ‘natural,’ hair color by way of my rapid response.  I guess I rock like that.

Lying serves a purpose. Like so many things in life, it can be used for good or for evil. But sometimes, even when we really want to spare someone the sting that truth provides, telling them a lie is very detrimental. Yes, that can be logged under the heading, ‘obvious,’ but I felt the disclaimer was necessary.

And this is the manner in which I proceed.  I go on assessing every situation as best my human mind and determine whether it’s appropriate to humor people, or whether the glaring light of reality has a place in each particular scenario.

So, like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause and that blessed stork, lies can be very beneficial in helping us maintain some semblance of hope in a world that can be a little dark. So, if I ever ask any of you, “Do you like my blog?” I think you know what the answer should be, even if I beg you not to lie….