This is our pantry.
I know that doesn’t look like much. The truth is, we’ve never really had a pantry. We’ve been creative over the years with limited space offered in older homes. We love the quaint, but closets weren’t big in the 1940’s. And neither were pantries – especially ones to support a family of 7. That said, we have more than enough room in our little space. And the lack of closets (along with multiple moves) keeps us lean. Even with the space we have, we could live on a 1/10th of what we own. I’m sure of it.
But this is not a post about excess or waste, it’s a post about authenticity, truth and integrity.
Despite its size and limited offerings, our pantry has a thief. Someone who sneaks food out of the smallish space. We bought all the food in our pantry for one purpose – to eat. And Jon and I are happy for the kids to eat it. We just ask and prefer that anyone eating the food, let’s say some chips, take it out of the pantry, put it on a plate or napkin, and eat at the table or the kitchen island. Because, we eat in the kitchen. Or, the kids can eat at a table in our family room. But that’s it.
Pantry Sneak likes to grab and go. Grab and go’s almost always leave a trail. Because when you grab a few chips and go back for more, crumbs fall. Sometimes on the ground. Sometimes in an open box below. Always somewhere. And we all know, at least in Texas, who likes crumbs.
Okay, so those aren’t real. (Note to self: Just say “NO” when a prankster daughter asks, “Can I buy these?” #fakeroaches #heartattack!!)
Between those bugs and her One Direction life-size cut-out, I need help.
Yes – that creepy shaddow-figure was standing at our door the other night when Jon & I came home from a movie. Scared me half to death. Even more when he was in my shower one morning. My word! it’s a miracle an ambulance hasn’t wheeled me out of this place.
So, when I walked in from carpool and caught Pantry Sneak red-handed, in action, I exclaimed, “It’s YOU!”
Even though YOU knew exactly what I was talking about, he quick responded, “What are you talking about?”
Why do they do that? He was busted. His hand was literally in the chip bag. “You’re the one that keeps grabbing chips.”
“It isn’t me,” he insisted.
“It clearly is you, just admit it.”
“Okay, so just this once,” he started to defend, all while chewing on a potato chip. “It’s still not me.”
“Why are you trying to finagle?” I ask in disbelief. “Tell the truth. Tell the whole truth. … I see you.” Then I add, “And, I don’t care if you eat the chips. Just get a plate. And for goodness’ sake, be honest. I would so much rather you tell me the whole truth than bank on a nugget of truth. I’m sure it’s not you 100% of the time, but never justify a half-truth as honesty. Your integrity is so much more important than a bag of chips. In fact, I can’t think of many things that would warrant compromising your full, 100% honesty and integrity.”
I might have over-boarded the lecture a little, but I was sensitive to the half-truth because there are a few folks in my life, adults, to whom I want to say the same thing. More like yell.
I feel like I’m living in a cesspool of half-truths. They come from people who, like my Pantry Sneak, are actually pretty terrific at the core. But somewhere along the way they started to
- justify half-truths by counting a portion of truth as the whole,
- think the end justifies the means,
- grow comfortable in a world of half-truths with no on calling them to higher integrity,
- or maybe convince themselves that the half-truth is actually whole.
And I watched, in action, how a half-truth teller tries to justify. Pantry Sneak, caught red-handed, tried to…
- Ignore/act like he didn’t hear me: This is a fav in the world of politics – pretend like you don’t hear and maybe it will go away… or just pretend and half-truth “Huh? I can’t hear you.”
- Blame/shift focus: It just might work, especially if someone is standing close by,
- Control information flow: This is one of the more powerful strategies, but beware, information control comes back to bite
- Sprinkle just enough truth to deflect further investigation.
To me, the last is the worst. Okay, all are bad.
So when I saw Pantry Sneak, I did snap a little. Mostly because I care for him so deeply. I don’t want him to buy into culture’s message that half-truths are okay and that put together they equal some justifiable whole. I want him to err on the side of honor and integrity and authenticity. For his sake. So he doesn’t ever have to manipu-finagle in order to be sure he has his half-truths in order. I want him to be free of that so he can live life untethered. And, even though gut-wrenching honesty can be uncomfortable in the moment, it speaks volumes about the big picture. Because people are involved. People are left in the wake. And, people are more important than spin.
At then end of the day, it leaves me weak. Wondering if/where I fudge. Hoping I have good enough friends that will converse with me and call me on any of my manipu-finagling that I’m hoping I don’t do. Thankful … oh, so thankful that God doesn’t deal in half-truths.
Integrity. Honesty. Authenticity. Propriety. Respect. Here’s to grooming a generation based on those.
Thanks for putting up with my rant .. and for walking the road with me.