Telling a little while lie can be so easy. Most have little significant impact on our lives and remain inconsequential to our experiences. They slip from between our lips quickly, flitting into the world with unmentionable effect. At least, we tell ourselves they do. But, as many of us have discovered, white lies grow, effecting our lives the same way proverbial butterfly wings can cause a hurricane. Paradoxical commandment number five hits close to home for me:
Getting caught would probably have meant a zero on our tests and maybe a trip to the Assistant Principal. I knew this. It didn’t stop me from elevating my dishonesty, though. Towards the end of the year, a few days before finals, I stopped by the calculus classroom for something after school. I noticed a stack of finals on the teacher’s desk, and since no one else was in the room, I took one and gave it to my girlfriend.
- I first encountered an adapted version of the “Paradoxical Commandments,” titled “The Final Analysis,” while listening to a Wayne Dyer audio CD in my early twenties. The meaning and message struck me as true, helping guide my thoughts and actions as I developed from a big kid into a real adult. Later, I discovered the poem was not actually written by Mother Theresa at all, but adapted, framed, and hung on the wall in her Calcutta orphanage. She cared about its message enough to use it to empower the weak and marginalized children to whom she gave her life.
The Paradoxical Commandments are reprinted with permission. © Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001