It is easy to get too close to things that you no longer recognize them (This advice is coming from the guy who loves to escape to Disneyland and blur the line between reality and fantasy). People confuse their wants for their needs. So today, hope to do a reality check, and momentarily put life into perspective.
My reality: If I miss lunch, I am starving.
My reality: It is inconvenient to wait a minute for the hot water to start flowing in the shower.
My reality: My world looks for ways to create physical activity in order to exercise.
Reality check: Other people in true poverty are fighting for a scrap of food. I really don’t know what true hunger or discomfort is. And I could stand to lose some weight. I don’t haul bails of hay, milk 250 head of cattle, or plow a field for survival. Through his prophet Joshua, the Lord reminded Israel, “I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.” (Joshua 24:13) I should be immensely grateful for the blessings that I so often take for granted.
My reality: Communication and interaction with others is virtually unlimited.
Reality Check: Interaction with others is limited virtually. People are more important than pixels, yet it is easy to forget and lose time and self in the safety of hiding behind the keyboard. It feels foreign to deliver a message by voice over a telephone, or to go to a front door, knock, and speak in person.
It is ironic that I write this thought without touching a writing utensil at all. Rather, I electronically manipulate black specs of light shining against white specs that surround it. This missive does not actually exist; rather it is the alignment of zeros or ones, which are converted to positive and negative polar extremes existing on a magnetized round metal disc.
Entertainment is rarely ever presented live and “unplugged” – rather it is recorded, edited and enhanced, and digitalized. Who would ever think to meet with their friends and neighbors to sit together and enjoy a performance together? My MP3 player will never deliver the human connection that comes from entertainer and performer looking into one another’s eyes and sensing how much each is enjoying the experience.
My reality: My society is smarter than and superior to the past generations.
Reality Check: As a society, we have done a tremendous amount of good. We have paved the wilderness. We have carved out large nooks in the land and created cities of grandiose spectacle. We have eliminated some diseases, quarantined others, and dare to dream that we can continue to defeat more still. We have an nearly unlimited reservoir of knowledge and the benefit of the experience of the ages.
My ancestors hauled their possessions across the country by foot in a hand-pulled wagon. They weren’t highly educated, but they worked the land and sweated by their brow to made their living. They didn’t operate with safety nets of government assistance or mandated health care. They weren’t advised by boards or warned by lawyers of what was good or bad for them. They attended the school of hard knocks. Through sickness and health, good times and bad, they had to tough it out. If they failed, they fell hard.
In real life, there is no “undo button.” No “continues,” “extra lives,” or “God Mode” cheat codes. We are free to choose our actions in life, but our consequences might remain with us for a long time after. Our trials are different. Our stresses come from different influences. I believe that, if given the opportunity, my ancestors would NOT choose to trade me places – they would look at the world of crazy priorities that I live in, and have wanted to stick with what they had. Our priorities are based on a much higher standard of comfort and living. Yet the skills that got then through and will take us through have not changed. The Boy Scouts called them being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. The Mormons say to be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and do good to all; at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in. Those attributes won’t fail us. They are truths that will hold us up and keep us strong.
No matter what reality we live in.