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by Harriet Berkal Aug 19, 2020

In the Ten Commandments, number 9 states - “ Thou shalt not Lie.” I was raised to be a truth teller and to embrace that sentiment in life. My father was such a righteous soul and witnessed evil in his day, but still maintained the makings of a fine human being.
I must admit that I have had to modulate the truth upon occasion. But the situations I felt warranted it, for the greater good. For example, when my parents were both alive and compromised by health issues, I had to be creative as a caregiver. It was noted that my dad would be confused and wanted to get up at 2 am, thinking it was time for breakfast. This disrupted my mom’s sleep. It went on for awhile. I initially didn’t have the heart to separate them, so this is what was substituted instead.
I placed a large note on my old bedroom door across from where my mom slept, for my father to read. It said: Mom is not feeling well today and so dad would you mind for this one night only,to sleep in this room, until she gets better?”
Knowing that he’d look at that note, anew each day, he would oblige my mother and then they would each respectfully, got a good sleep. In the morning they could cuddle, but they were well rested.
So I lied in order to help them both out. It worked. Did I feel guilty? Indeed. But the proof was in the pudding. The scenario was vastly improved.
Likewise, when my beloved mother died eight months earlier than my father, I lied again, to protect him. He’d ask me:” Where is mom ?” I’d reply:” She’s resting !” This pacified and calmed him. Had I told him that she had passed away, which happened on occasion with others, he would digress into a state of grief and disbelief. With no short term memory, I feel it’s beyond cruel to have someone relive shattering news, over and over again. Why would anyone hurt someone like that? Is it a lie ? It is, but it protects another. There is absolutely no upside in my mind, in revealing the truth to someone who lacks the capacity to grieve properly, devoid of lasting memory.
At Passover, I’d go to the extent of setting a place setting for my mom plus I’d rest one of her sweaters behind the chair, to convince my dad she was there. He’d once again ask after looking at the sweater :” Where is Sara?” I’d respond :” She’s resting, did you want me to wake her up ?” “Oh no, please let her sleep!” And he then became immersed in the Seder.
Today we find ourselves in a world filled with lies. The majority are espoused by the President of the United States. During this surreal pandemic he has stated the most outrageous words, concepts, etc. which fall on the ears of many, who refuse to admit how thousands are dying and that it’s not just a regular flu. They protect themselves under the silver lined umbrella Trump provides, so they can go on about their regular lives, left uninterrupted. They want to pretend the worst is not here, they are insulated and they embrace this distorted reality. They are in total denial and hide behind the first amendment to block the gravity of the situation. Trump reinforces this by claiming “Fake News” on a daily basis. It soothes their souls.
So, when lies are committed for the greater good or utilized for profit and/ or for self preservation are they justified ?
Ask yourself this: would I ever want to be protected from something that could rear it’s ugly head, decades later and turn my life upside down ? This occurs in marriages and in various family situations, all the time.
Ideally one deserves to know up front, what they are dealing with. If all cards are on deck then, one can make an informed decision in life. You have the right to set the trajectory of your own path. But ignorance can be bliss.
Not all lies are ill intended. Sometimes others keep things from you, to not only protect themselves, ( so there are selfish motives ) but they can also guard you.
Evil does lurk on this earth. People make mistakes and sometimes give into temptations from predatory sources. Do you have the forgiveness in your heart to move past such an episode ? Or are you better served by never finding out? People can create their own realities, ones which allow them to function.
Lies can be so destructive. They have the ability to drastically alter your perception of another. If they lied about this, what else may they have lied about ? You can’t always rely on the kindness of others to help you heal, if exposed. But in reality, we are surrounded by deceit on a daily basis. That is such a harsh truism to come to terms with. Have you ever wondered how liars live with themselves ? Do they feel guilt ? Remorse ? Or do they convince themselves that the truth would hurt them or others ?
Lies are often expected from politicians. Trump has been able to influence the masses with his ability to alter what’s occurring to such extreme dangerous levels. Thousands more will die, as he is in total self preservation mode. For him his goal is re-election no matter how many thousands perish.
As humans we develop coping mechanisms to deal with all the information thrown at us along our journey. Sure it would be delightful if everyone treated one another with mutual respect and dignity. But this is not the case. Humans hurt other humans, even though we are all trying to survive on this planet, whether you think it’s round or flat.
After 4 months of the horrors of Covid, the intrusion of killer hornets, a potential second pandemic of swine flu, hurricanes, etc. I’m looking to either hide under a rock or find an island which has delivery service. Kind of had enough truth for awhile. It’s become overwhelming.
My heart goes out to all those front line workers who are forced to deal with what “lies” in front of them. They are stressed to the limit. The line which started to flatten is curving once again,with no end in sight. They CAN’T ignore the truth. They live it everyday.
Lying is a necessary evil, the truth may set you free but it could also be your prison.
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