For the past several months, I have been lying to someone who I care about more than anyone in the world. Who it was and what the lie was is kind of irrelevant, but I was lying so deeply I didn’t even realize I was lying, until of course it was pointed out – with tears and a half-eaten Panini sandwich.
You might have noticed I have been struggling lately to do anything “Jewish” or spiritual. I haven’t been able to bring myself to light Shabbat candles or even sit down at a Shabbat meal. Part of me thought I was just losing my spirituality. The truth is I was losing part of myself. By lying to someone who could call me out just by looking at my face, how could I bring myself in front of G-d and lie to Him too. How could I light candles and say my prayers, when I am lying to the person I pray for. Lying to G-d feels pretty much the same as lying to my reflection.
I recently came across this Busted Halo post on the spirituality of punctuality. It hit close to home because I have been known to be chronically late to everything, and worse, bail the very last minute on plans. I’ve never felt much remorse for this until it happened to me in a really big way. I’ve been trying ever since to be punctual, realizing how rude it is to make others wait on you. The author of this piece, Phil Fox Rose, said something really big in his piece – it’s not being selfish, it’s being self-centered. A selfish person does the action knowing it will hurt someone else, a self-centered person does the action only considering him or herself without considering how the other person might feel. I was self-centered when I was late and cancelled on people, and I was self-centered when I lied believing that it wouldn’t hurt anyone. It’s not true. It definitely does hurt people.
Going back to the person I lied to, I was told that it didn’t matter if I were X, Y or Z, but that I was an honest person. That was kind of hard to digest for me because I was so caught up in being good at something tangible that I hardly thought to work at being good at something like honesty. Well, that’s now my new project to work on for the next few months.
The point of religion, at least how I see it, is to see things from G-d’s point of view and not just our own. So, honest to G-d, I’ve learned from my self-centered ways and even though I mess up (already did once tonight), I got my well-deserved (metaphorical) slap across the face and it did me good. Thanks for the nudge, and the patience.