The Use of ‘Word Camouflage’. . .
As an Italian New Yorker (there’s that excuse again!), there are certain skills I was born with, or so I like to think! I have always been a ‘haggler’ of sorts; good at getting the price down on a new or used car, great at talking my way out of a ticket and most recently, talking my way out of a fine at the library. Oh, but the cost to my soul and my dignity! In fact, it has become more and more clear, that I cannot use my old tricks anymore if I am to be true to my faith and to my God. Ugh! Lying can take on so many forms. Exaggerating, minimizing, and lying by omission is lying too! These are old tactics that I just can’t do any more. I don’t lie anymore and I guess it’s God that is bringing me to new levels of honesty.
I went to the library, my lovely local library. We have a most wonderful library in my neighborhood and you can rent all the movies you want – up to 50 for 7 days… who can carry that many? No, I didn’t try! But I usually take 15 movies when I decide to take them. And I take documentaries, old movies: westerns with my favorite men, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart and of course, Tom Selleck (my dream man); musicals that I don’t own, hall-mark ‘soupy’ romantic movies, the ‘goofier’ the better! I use these movies as noise makers because I get lonely and even if I turn off the sound, I enjoy the moving pictures of people on the tv. It’s a comfort zone. I do this with movies that I’ve seen so many times, I know what they are saying. Clark Gable in, “It happened one night” is a great example.
Ok, so I called my library yesterday morning to renew the 15 movies I had taken out about a week ago in case I couldn’t get to the library and I would incur a fine ($1 per movie per day). When I finally got through the phone system and jumped through the hoops with correct information (no small feat!) I learned I was one day overdue! I thought, ‘AAURG!’ I’m late! This is not good!’ So I called and spoke to a librarian and said, “Oh no, I’m late! Can you help? Can you do anything about the fine?” She said, I’ll renew them so if you don’t get here today, it won’t get any worse. When you come in, you can speak to a librarian and see if they will remove the fine.
I was so unhappy about this fine, I went right after work. The woman who helped me kept putting words in my mouth and I kept saying, “yea, sure, ok, yea!” But they were lies… but whose lies were they; Hers or mine? She said, “So you had trouble with the phone system?” (Yes, that’s true, I did, but today, not yesterday! I left that out! “Yes!”) And it went on that way and I was praying and repenting right in the middle
of the conversation; ‘I’m so sorry, Lord. this is wrong!’ She removed the
fine and I said thank you. As I walked away, I felt terrible. I was arguing
in my mind with God, ‘Oh it’s not a big deal!’ I was wrestling with this. I wanted to walk away and just let it go, but I couldn’t! Because, yes, while
I tried to call in and avert the fine, I did it today and not yesterday and so
I had a fine. I couldn’t live with it! She was asking questions and answering them for me and I was agreeing to all she said but it wasn’t true! Ultimately, my past behaviour of getting out of little messes was simply NOT OK anymore! Because I don’t lie! I strive to not exaggerate or minimize or fudge or ‘get out of’ by using ‘word camouflage’; all effective methods I have used in the past, but I don’t do that anymore. I can’t. It’s wrong and it creates marbles of guilt that I just can’t live with anymore. It’s the stuff I used to binge over, get numb over. A $15 fine. Ugh!