I have never been a very good liar. I rarely even try it. Lying, for me, is like an exercise bike, covered in cobwebs, sitting in the basement. But this year, starting on January 1st and continuing through 2016, my New Year’s resolution is to be unabashed in my dedication to lying. I resolve to lie to myself and to you with all the seeming credibility with which I have been lied to by others in the media, in community, and face-to-face.
My first lie will be to proclaim that life is getting worse and that people, places and things were better in the good, old days. I will tell people that defeatist thoughts and feelings are more realistic than hopeful optimism. I will lie about how there have been quantum leaps in the prevalence of fear and sadness in the world. My biggest lie, perhaps, will be to speak and act with authority, as if I have proof that the above statements are true.
I will tell people that they are far more different than they are similar to each other. I will claim with a straight face that there is no such thing as a benevolent force at work in the universe that can make the wounded whole. I will go tell it on the mountain that faith is fruitless because it cannot be proved or measured. I will tell people that mature love is verifiable, conditional and reciprocal. I will advise people to always follow their gut instinct and first impressions. I will claim that it is far better to react than to respond, and that there are only two choices in conflict: to fight or take flight.
I will resolve to be a better liar because I believe that lies will inevitably and eventually be held accountable by truth. People may initially be more willing to embrace a convenient lie than an uncomfortable truth ~ but in the long run no one really likes to be lied to. Eventually all the lies that are told to us, and that we tell to each other and to ourselves, will be exposed to the light of truth. And then, like mold in the cabinet under the kitchen sink that is exposed to fresh air and light, the lies will wither and fade.And then we may finally come to believe that while things are certainly getting different, they are not necessarily getting worse.
And the good old days may only seem good because they are old and the rough edges have been worn smooth by the sands of time.
And that hope and optimism, while seemingly transient, are actually eternal.
And fear and sadness are not the enemies of faith and joy ~ but are merely part of our human condition.
And that there really is a benevolent, sustaining force in the universe that many people choose to call God.
And that faith is never fruitless, even if the fruit is sometimes hidden amongst the branches and leaves.
And that we are free to love without condition, even if we are not loved in return.
And that emotions, not unlike hunger and thirst, come and go but the spirit that animates them remains.
And that between fighting or taking flight there is the option of staying to reason things out with all the physical, emotional and spiritual tools at our disposal.
We may even discover that lies are not necessarily bad ~ especially if they shield us from a truth we cannot yet bare to face. And that lies we tell each other and ourselves and not necessarily bad if they prove to be stepping stones that act like a bridge that help us to cross a turbulent river to the shore of a new way of dealing with old problems. And that there is no solid reason why 2016 should be anything less than a beautiful, prosperous and profoundly spiritual one. Happy New Year!
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of many books and pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York. He blogs at dwightleewolter.com
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