A lie in the mail

I keep getting lies in the mail. I’m sad about that.

Today it was a letter addressed (by hand) to me, but with no return address. Inside was a newspaper clipping with a post-it that said “Angela, Check this out! – J”. There was a stamp on the envelope; it couldn’t have come from a business.

But the “clipping” inside was actually fake. It had words on it, and had been printed on newsprint, but didn’t come out of any newspaper. It had been perforated right in the middle of a column of words, to look like J had cut it out (just for me!). There was even an ad for a vacation destination on the back. And the “article” was all about how a local dealership was going to have to rid itself of all used cars in the next three days.

Oh, and cars can be had for $29 down, and $99/month, cash price $4295 or some such. The fine print tells you there are restrictions about creditworthiness and insurability, and that there are additional fees. They also tell you that there are exactly two cars for that price, and they may be gone already.

These letters aren’t as common, maybe, as the ones made to look like government notices, or to look like bills you have to pay when they’re actually trying to get you to sign up for some service. There are lots of different types.

And I’m told it’s not a big deal. Everybody does it. Just throw them away.

But it is a big deal. J had to make sure to write something that would mislead me, and plenty of others, without being literally false. Other people may have been involved. Clerical workers, other salespeople, her children?

Some human being is on the other side of each lie that I receive. And that human being, that spark of the divine fire, has to muffle her sprit, close her heart, and become something other than her authentic self to make something like that work. It’s tragic.

And how many people do that every day? How many people are paid to lie? “You’ll need to register for another year. Will that be Visa or Mastercard?” What does “you’ll need to” really mean? On a sign: “$99.95″-isn’t that just a lie that says “Nah! This won’t cost you a hundred dollars. See?”

Nurses lie to patients, teachers to students, salesmen to people wanting to buy something. Bankers, neighbors, parents, friends. Lies are everywhere.

Maybe they’re “white lies.” Maybe they’re not lies at all, just “misleading.” But how did “misleading” get to sound so innocent? Jewish tradition says that it’s wrong to put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. Leading someone astray — misleading — is surely also wrong. It’s surely something that a person can’t do all the time, habitually, and still find a sane and healthy path to walk. It’s not the road to enlightenment.

Call it karma, or spiritual failure, or whatever you like. It’s tragic, and it’s darkening our souls, breaking our world.

Let’s stop letting these things go unnoticed, uncommented. Let us tell the truth. Let us give up the idea of the white lie in favor of making authentic connections.

Let us speak to the divine nature in one another.

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