About ten years ago I was building a gazebo outside of Assisi with my friend Arthur, who was a contractor from California. We had measured out a large plot on top of cement and covered it with bricks. Before we began adding the wood and glass structure, though, he told me to measure the four sides of the base. I did. Strangely, one of the long sides was 2 centimeters longer than the other. I measured it again. Hmm, still 2 centimeters off….
We were under a deadline, so I suggested we just keep moving on, rather than redoing the base.
“We have to go back and fix those two centimeters,” he said. “Otherwise they’ll be following us around all day.”
I’ve always loved this statement. What he meant, obviously, was that if we had continued building, without fixing the discrepancy, we would have found ourselves with walls 2 centimeters too long, a roof 2 centimeters too long, and a dysfunctional gazebo.
We think we can run away from the truth sometimes – by telling a lie, for example, or pretending we didn’t hear something, or even remaining silent – but defending truth means we really have to be careful. We can’t cut corners. We really need to take up our swords and defend it at all costs, not just say we believe it.
Otherwise, just like those 2 centimeters, the lies keep building up. Then they follow us around all day.