Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

I was told when I was a kid to not ever ride a motorcycle. So, around nine years old I rode a motorcycle. I was at my friend Chris’s house and he had a little Honda 50cc. It beckoned me, begging me to give it a spin. Somewhere between bliss and torture, I had to lay her down.

At nine years old, no one tells you what proper motorcycle riding attire is. I was in shorts, you know mid-eighties Daisy-dukes, and some tennis shoes. That’s all. After peeling myself off of the ground the reality of my strawberry covered body hit me. The physical pain was what I was least afraid of.

For the next several days of that hot summer, I trendset early 90’s grunge and wore jeans and a flannel. Hiding my full-body scab from my parents was hard and I wasn’t able to pull it off for long. My mom gasped when she saw me with my shirt off for the first time and I had to think fast, “I fell down.”

“Jeremy, you’re scraped up all over your body.”

“Yeah, I was running really fast.” A top shelf lie.

My dad called me out on my lie pretty quickly and even accused me of riding a motorcycle, “God told me.” I could tell early on that Dad, a former man-of-the-world, was gonna be a hard one to pull stuff over on. He punished me by having me memorize Bible verses about how liars were going to spend eternity in hell. I didn’t come out of my room for three weeks. Apparently there’s a lot of verses about that.

I learned my lesson. There’s not much worse in a relationship than lying. It’s not the lie that is the problem. That’s forgivable. It’s the fact that so many statements will be doubted from that moment forward. What’s there to build upon? Trust is broken.

I forgot to put money under Brayden’s pillow a few years ago after he lost his 3rd or 4th tooth. Look, that’s like 30 teeth in all between the three of them and at some point, I just don’t care. He came storming into my room after the 3rd frustrating night of placing it under his pillow. “Dad! The tooth fairy jipped me again!” I had relied on his inability to sleep soundly in one position the first two nights and told him that the tooth fairy couldn’t find his tooth because he moved so much. But I could sense that he was getting weary of that excuse. So I thought quickly- because that always works.

“No, the tooth fairy came. She left the money in my wallet on the dresser because she couldn’t find your tooth again. Get it.”

He opened my wallet and said, “There’s a ten dollar bill and a one hundred dollar bill.”

“Oh, it’s definitely the ten.” Backfire. Who keeps money in their wallet anymore anyway?

That was an even tighter web of deceit. Lies to cover my lies.

I put Tiffanni to bed last night after a challenging bath time. She just couldn’t stay still. “I’m so excited, aren’t you?” she asked me.

“What about?”

“I’m getting better.” And she stared into my eyes. I can only guess that she was looking for a confirmation. Something to accelerate her belief. Or maybe the question just cold-cocked me in such a disorienting way that I felt it more as a question than a declaration of her own perceived reality.

“You sure are,” I stuttered as the words fumbled out of my mouth.

I guess it was Darwin or some shrink that first coined the idea of Fight or Flight. In the survival of the fittest, when your back is against the wall, you fight or you run away. In almost twenty years of ministry, I’ve seen a lot of people run away. Their desire to be just shuts down. They give in to life’s unfortunate lot and accept the hand that’s dealt. Which is of course completely understandable. I shut down some days too.

But not Tiffanni. She’s a fighter. She wants to go, and do, and be, and breathe. She wants to shop, and eat, and call on the phone, and go on dates. She wants to live. But her body is her archenemy. As stubborn as she is. It fights and she punches it right back. Her sheer determination to live a normal life is equal parts inspirational and discouraging. This would be so much easier if she just gave up. There would be no dissonance between her reality and my reality. What she sees and what I see. But she can’t. And I love her for it. Or in spite of it.

So she fights and I lie. “Yes, you’re getting better.” “No, you’re not moving much.” “Yes, I understand.” “No, everything is great.” Because I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s something different about lying to your parents and breaking relationship, and lying to your wife to try and save it.

12 Comments for “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire”

says:

What a trooper she is, and you are beyond description. Yet, you do it day in and day out, because you love her and there is that small hope that, yes, maybe she really is a little better. Thank you for sharing a miniscule part of what you face every day.
Praying for strength, wisdom and yes, patience.

says:

I was about to say that your name should possibly be changed to David and that you were destined to be a king. Then I read your reason for your present lies, and I realized that this is the only road you can tale. I continue to pray for you and Tiffani and your family. I pray for all of you because her illness affects each person in a special and somewhat different way. Perhaps that is why families like your are allowed to go through these difficult situations. Your family is a witness as a whole and witnesses as individuals as you live out your present lives. God bless each of you.

Christy Marshall

says:

While not the same thing, I see a parallel in your situation and when I’ve ‘lied’ to either of my folks who both have Dementia/Alzheimer’s. I was talking to a dear friend about how I hated lying to them but it kept them more calm. She replied (learned through her own experience with her father), that it wasn’t lying, it was going along with their fantasy. It was the kindest thing I or anyone could do for them, it brought them comfort. You’re giving comfort to your wife, well done!

Dinah McKinley

says:

Even though we don’t see you much anymore, love your entire family to the moon and back! I miss your kids, especially your girls! And Tiff was the first person to talk to me and so interested in getting to know me and what I did, when we went to that first “newcomers lunch”. Every time after, she would always give me the biggest hug. I know I’ve told you this before, but our family does think about you often and lift you up in prayers continually! And each prayer is different for each person because you each have your own battle . Keep the faith Jeremy! And know you always have others interceding when you sometimes don’t have the strength nor know the words to say or pray. Hugs to you all!

Melody bagwell

says:

I think if you have the pure courage or faith to declare, “I’m getting better” then yes…you are getting better!! Even if it’s just for that moment. I hope she never stops declaring BETTER!!!! Lies???? What lies???
Thank You Jesus for better!!!

Pat Dunkin

says:

Jeremy, I look at you as such an encouraging young man, wise beyond your time! You are a BLESSING and inspiration to so many, God’s great BLESSINGS on YOU, TIFFANY and your CHILDREN! YOU be encouraged and of great cheer! Love you all “Sims family”
LaDon and Pat Dunkin

Steph Wright

says:

Wow, wow, wow! Again you amaze us with your heart felt thoughts penned into words. I’ve been learning lately that we are all born fighters. It’s the desire of the world to take the fight out of us, some give in and some don’t. Praying for you and precious Tiffi!

Susan Bethea

says:

I am glad to know she is not giving in to it. It can not be easy to take that stand. Bless her and you and your kids. Love you guys.

Yancy Peek

says:

How I have managed to not stumble across this until today I’m not sure, but I can’t stop reading. The raw truth in all of this touches my heart in so many ways and I know the hearts of many others. You are not afraid to tell the ugly truth to this disease and how it can break everyone down if they allowed it. But you also see the most amazing good that comes from life’s journey as well. Tiff has been a fighter since I’ve known her. She is blessed beyond words to have you by her side along with her amazing family. In reading this I can tell, no matter how hard things can be some days you are equally as blessed. This has been such an inspiration to me and truth be told I stumbked across this at the right time.

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