Beautiful Lies

I recently read a poem in which one line referred to “beautiful lies”, which on the surface, would appear to be an oxymoron. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. How often do I say something purely as a kind gesture. When searching for something to say, I choose to lean toward the positive. And in fact, my comments often are not really lies, more reshaped truths. Telling someone that I like their jacket, or shoes or whatever, when in fact, I don’t really think there is something special about them at all. Or telling someone how good they look when in fact they look stressed out.

Each week, as I wander the halls of the nursing home where I volunteer, I see the faces of yesterday, many with vacant or hollow eyes. I greet many of them and find myself saying things that are purely to make a positive statement (accompanied by a smile) even though I know much of what I say is suspect at best. These, I guess are my beautiful lies.

One of the residents that I visited frequently was a man who loved to play Cribbage. So each week, we would drag out his board and a deck of cards and play a few games. He had congestive heart failure and knew he would not survive his stay. Yet, I found myself saying things that would contradict that result. Beautiful lies. He knew it, and so did I. But I did it anyway. I couldn’t do any different. After he passed, I received a note from his daughter telling me how much he had enjoyed my visits. That meant a lot to me because it confirmed that they also meant a lot to him, lies and all.

I justify my behavior by rationalizing that everyone does it, although that is somewhat of a cop out. In reality, I do it because I think it is what the other person wants or needs to hear. It is inherent within us, I think, to spare someones feeling by bending the truth. I’m not sure that is so wrong? I don’t know. It just seems we all have enough problems getting by without someone reminding us of the negatives. A kind word, accurate or not, carries some weight, and perhaps, brightens someones day. We believe what we want to believe.

So I probably won’t change. I will continue to say what I think is right. I just think there are times when it is preferable to communicate with my heart instead of my conscience.

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
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5 Responses to Beautiful Lies

  1. quiall says:

    You are so right! Sometimes the honest truth is the last thing that is required.


  2. I hope you don’t change. People need to hear nice things. The things you are talking about should be called something different. Lies has a negative connotation and the things you are saying make people feel better. It doesn’t seem right to call them lies. May those things should be called “hopes.” When you say the things you do, you hope they come true. “You’re looking well.” And you hope it comes true.


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