Image by Ray Brown
SOME things in life you see happen to others, but you may never contemplate they’ll happen to you. Many of these things are predictable from hindsight, and some sneak up on you. Some of these things can be painful, and a world of anguish ensues, just as some are pleasurable, where you’re blessed more than you can anticipate. Such is life.
This is about the latter. An unexpected blessing. A big surprise. Involving deceit.
In counselling couples about their relationships, you would never advise them to lie to one another, would you? But there is a kind of lie that is a gift. It can be packaged as a once-in-a-lifetime surprise party.
I sound very naïve to say that I never suspected it, but it would be more accurate to say I was confused. My wife’s alibi to get me to the party seemed plausible, even if it was a stretch. And you go with it when you promised two months previously to leave it with her.
What caught me by surprise was what I felt as I approached the church where the party was being held. Confusion of mind led to feelings that could only be described as surreal — and not in an entirely good way; that feeling that what you’re stepping into is an enormous gift, but at the same time you have no idea really what to expect. Part of me didn’t want to enter for fear of the unknown.
And then you see the faces. So many familiar faces in the same place at the very same time. Familiar faces but in a foreign place for them. Faces of people you know well, but that aren’t connected with each other as much as they’re connected with you.
Then comes the concept of my wife ‘lying’ to me for months!
There’s the matter of over a hundred people being complicit (as I had had encounters with many of them over previous weeks) in the same ‘deceit’, if you can call it that. Perhaps one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in life was being the last one to discover a horrible truth that impacted me the most.
So where does this rate? Probably the only challenge you face is that of false humility… my wife and family, and all the others, by extension, did this for me? How do you reconcile being loved in the nicest of ways through deceit? Can it even be deceit? It would be the biggest blessing anyone could experience, if they could reconcile the self-consciousness that many of us struggle with, and when you’re in a moment like that grace simply takes over.
One thing that is easy to resolve is the love displayed when you look at the dozens of hours invested by several family members, not least my wife who invested some hours every day for a month or more previously.
Love is prepared to invest significant time and effort to make of an experience a gift.