June 27, 2012

Dear Mama,
I’ve often wondered if you realized you taught me to lie.  No, it wasn’t your intention to do so, but you did.

How you ask?  Simple enough.

Often you would badger me about what you perceived to be the truth of a situation.  Something for which I deserved punishment.  So convinced were you that you knew the truth better than I that you went on and on, sometimes for an hour or more.  I would be reduced to tears begging you to understand it wasn’t true.

And yet you just knew you were right!  What made you so sure that you were always right?  How was it that there were never two sides to a story?

This bizarre method of getting to the “truth” began when I was still in grade school, perhaps first or second grade.  It continued into my young adult life.

At some point, around eight years old, I began to realize that if you believed so strongly that you had the truth on your side why should I fight it.  So, I began agreeing with you.

In essence, although I knew the truth, I’d lie to stop your badgering and yelling.  Then, you’d execute punishment — the belt, a switch, or a spanking with your hand when I was still young — and you’d be happy!  Life could go on.

Yes, you taught me to lie.  And you weren’t the only one I’d lie to.  As Thomas Jefferson said,

The habit grew and grew.  It seemed almost uncontrollable.  Until one day in my early 40s, I was asked by an employer to do something criminal.  I couldn’t!  Lying with mild consequences was one thing; criminal action another.  That was the day God finally grasped my heart and my tongue, and in a twinkling He turned me around.

But imagine, Mama, all that time petty lies to get what I wanted, to make a story richer than the next person’s, and on it went.  As a mother myself, I wasn’t setting a very good example.

The only person I’ve never lied to is Bob, the love of my life.  He deserved better than that.  His trust in me kept my lies at bay.

The only thing I wish you could tell me is why.  Why did you have to be right?  Why did you have to punish me for something I hadn’t done?  Why is the biggest question I have, and it will never be answered now.

Despite it all, at the end of the day I managed to still find love in my heart for you.  And that’s the truth!

Loving you each day,

Sherrey