Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snapshots of the Heart ~ Honesty & Integrity

We recently had one of our little people have a run in with the Honesty Police.  It wasn't pretty.  For the sake of protecting said "liar, liar, pants on fire", let's call him or her "Pat".  And we'll even go one step further and "pull an Elmo" by never using a personal pronoun.  I'll leave the choice up to you as to whether you use a high-pitched squeaky voice as you read along.

Pat had a pretty amazing story to share after school one day.  Poor Pat ended up in a fight of sorts.  Pat got punched in the stomach after a bit of an altercation on the playground.  This punch was delivered by a classmate ... let's call this person "Cameron" ... who has a bit of a reputation for being rough around the edges.  According to Pat, Pat didn't do anything to deserve said punch.  Pat's friends had two reactions to this uncalled for wallop.  One of Pat's friend tried to slug Cameron back.  Another of Pat's friends ran for help.

As you can imagine, Pat's mom (that would be me ... you can call me "Morgan") was surprised to hear this news.  Pat's mom asked some additional questions regarding this playground brawl and Pat had a ready answer to each question.  Pat's mom rubbed Pat's back and told Pat that she was sorry for such a yucky experience.

Later on in the afternoon, it struck Pat's mom that she probably should have heard from the school office or at least the teach regarding this whomping Pat experienced.  So ... Pat's mom asked Pat if Pat's teacher was aware of the problem because she would like to talk to her about it.

And that's when Pat's story began to fall apart.  At the seams.

Pat began to hem and haw.
Pat began to stare off into space before responding to further questions.
Pat began to sweat.

But Pat also stuck to Pat's story ... hanging on to this web of lies like Pat's life depended on it.

Poor Pat.

Pat's mom sat down next to Pat on the couch.  She phrased her next question very carefully.

"I need to know what really happened because if you actually got punched on the playground, I need to talk to a teacher about it.  I intend to call the school tomorrow.  Is this what happened?"

Pat finally broke down ... "No.  I just made it up.  I thought it would be cool.  Cameron just drives me crazy.  I'm sorry, Mom ... sniff, sniff, sniff ..."

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive ...

The worst part of this entire experience was the fractured trust between Pat and Pat's mom.  For the days and weeks following this integrity issue, Pat's mom found herself listening to Pat's stories and scrutinizing Pat's words and inflection.

Pat paused for a minute before that last account.
Pat is chewing on Pat's fingers ... does that mean anything?  
And, is it my imagination, or are Pat's eyes looking shifty?

And Pat found that Pat's mom asked unnerving questions.

Did this really happen?
Are you being truthful?
Is this an honest recounting of the experience?

Fortunately, Pat and Pat's mom have managed to overcome this honesty incident.  But it didn't come easily.  Pat had to exhibit evidence of honesty and integrity and Pat's mom had to pray a lot and try to trust.

One little lie ... weeks of recovery ... one tough lesson.

"May integrity and honesty 
be their virtue and their protection."  
Psalm 25:21

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