Somehow I have in my purse a few 100-won coins that are exactly the same size as quarters. It has fleetingly crossed my mind to use them in the parking meter, especially when I didn't have a proper quarter. There was a time I wouldn't have thought twice about it.
I am intent on ferreting out those habits I didn't think twice about before. I used to believe that minor deceptions were fairly inconsequential-"Tell him I can't come to the phone right now"-and that you simply confess them in a blanket way before bedtime and are done with them.
But now I think that the Pinocchio movie was right on the money: Whenever you tell a little lie, it changes you. It changes the situation, too, of course. You think you have gotten the better of something and turned it to your advantage. What you don't see is your nose growing, and then sprouting branches and leaves. You are not exactly the same person after you do something untrue as you were five minutes before.
I do not think these are psychological feelings but hint at spiritual realities unperceived by the naked eye. If we could but see what the angels see, we might never be so casual again about these little incongruities with truth. We might be eager to grow day by day, truth-telling by truth-telling, into that radiant stallion we are meant to be. C.S. Lewis describes such a fine creature in The Great Divorce:
"The Happy Trinity is her home: nothing can trouble her joy.
"She is the bird that evades every net: the wild deer that leaps every pitfall.
"Like the mother bird to its chickens or a shield to the arm'd knight: so is the Lord to her mind, in His unchanging lucidity.
"Bogies will not scare her in the dark: bullets will not frighten her in the day.
"Falsehoods tricked out as truths assail her in vain: she sees through the lie as if it were glass . . . ."