Violet and the Bangs

It has been a few months now, but a while back, I noticed one day that Violet, my 6-year-old, had bangs.  Suddenly. They appeared out of nowhere. The girls had just come back from a weekend at their dad’s and I asked her if she had gotten a haircut…. Nope.

Well, did your dad cut your bangs?  No.

Did your grandma?  No.

Violet, did you cut your bangs?  No.

And the Mystery of the Cut Bangs began.  

Periodically I would ask Violet about the bangs.  She always replied that she didn’t know what happened.  She couldn’t remember. She didn’t know if someone cut her bangs, or who.  It was all very strange.

Then about three months later, my older daughter, Mazie, who is 8, and I were cleaning out one of the toy bins.  I picked up a red plastic cup and Mazie said to me, “That’s the cup that Violet put her hair in.” What? “Yeah, after she cut her bangs.”

Mystery solved.  

I really didn’t care if Violet cut her bangs or not, and I told that to her.  She wouldn’t have gotten in trouble. But now, now she had been lying to me for months.  Lying to my face. And that hurt.  I do not want to raise a liar. 

Lies are slippery little suckers, aren’t they?  They’re a practiced behavior that sometimes start out so small and insignificant.  I’ve often told students that the first lie you tell someone is the hardest one to tell.  The first time you break that trust tears your guts out.  The next time you lie though, it’s easier. And the easier it gets, the bigger the lies become.  

I dated a guy once that would lie about anything.  If he had eggs for breakfast, he could swear on the Bible that he’d eaten cereal.  And he would lie about little things like that. At the time, it just didn’t make any sense to me, but when I found his emails with 4 other women, all of the lies began to unravel.  

Truth is big around these parts.  Jen and I had lots of conversations when we created this blog about Truth being the cornerstone of our writing.  I challenge you today to live in truth.  If you’re doing something you feel you need to lie about, I have an idea:  don’t do that thing! Don’t practice lying. Stop being good at it.  Walk in integrity. It’s so worth it.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what happened with little Violet, this is how it went down:  She walked back in the room while we were cleaning, and I said, “Hey Violet, is this the cup you put your hair in when you cut your bangs?”  The poor little girl never had a chance. Without missing a beat she said, “Yep!”  And then her eyes got real big.  

Mama always knows. Game. Set. Match.

For Gunslingers and Over-Thinkers

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We’ve told you before, we don’t do resolutions. It just seems like a recipe for failure.

Instead, we do reflection.

Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes too much, the kind that ends badly at the bottom of a bottle of wine.

We could be accused of over thinking, although we prefer thorough.

It’s a fine line. We know it.

Every so often, we meet up with a gunslinger, one of those people who make decisions with a ready, aim, fire determination.

I am in awe of those people. My anxiety prevents me from striding that confidently through the world. When I try to pull the trigger on a quick-draw, it usually turns out to be ready, fire, aim.

Messy.

Therefore, I ponder. I percolate. I discuss. I am the anti-gunslinger. I’m the dead guy in the bar, who was trying to understand why everyone was so angry.

This weekend, I was having a conversation with a gunslinger at church who is a partner teacher in our Sunday School program. She’s also ex-military and I’m pretty sure she’s packing at all times.

She has few words. I tend not to trust people with few words, because I have lots of words and so I think everyone should have lots of words. But she is efficient. And simple-hearted. She has a moral home base inside her and she pivots off that base. It’s very clear to her and after watching and listening to her for these months, it’s clear to me too. What you see is what you get and yes, if she’s not talking it’s probably because she saw the solution ten minutes ago and is letting the rest of us talk ourselves around to it.

So I was in one doorway and she was in the other talking about the movie Meet the Robinsons. With an economy of words, she said one of the themes running through the movie is the inventor character tries and fails and tries again. And not only that, he displays his “mistakes” and can explain exactly what he learned from each.

She said the movie teaches kids that it’s not a mistake if we learn from it.

And then she stopped. Because that’s how she rolls and she had a class to get ready for.

But I stood there, gaping.

It’s not a mistake if we learn from it.

Can it be that easy?

I let it sink into me, really, really sink. I had to imagine a world where we spoke freely about our mistakes and what we learned from them. I thought about what it could mean for shame and anger and hurt and forgiveness.

And I think that’s H-O-L-Y stuff right there.

For the gunslingers and the over-thinkers and the worry-ers and the wounded and the addicted and the angry and the beaten.

For all of us.

Maybe this year, we just own our junk. And then we think about how it got junky. If it needs apologizing, we apologize. If it needs moving on, we move on. If it needs fixing from someone with different skills than ours, we get it fixed. And then we don’t hide it away like a shameful secret. In the right time and the right place and to the right person—we’ll allow this to be determined by a gentle push from the Holy Spirit—we’ll tell what we learned, to help someone else know It’s not a mistake if we learn from it.

Isn’t that better than a resolution?