This is a reprint of a wonderful article written by Dan Hittenberger.
Permission to re-print is granted by his son Jeff of Acry-Tech Coatings.
Counterfeit Life in the 21st Century
The news media constantly bombards us with the happenings of the day and generously offers to interpret what that news means in a “fair and balanced” way because we’re way too busy to really reflect on what they’re saying and to study the topics that are flying at us at the speed of light. We’re so busy we need to filter everything just to keep the top of our heads from exploding upwards. We settle for scanning headlines or getting our information in tight little packets or tweets, we read emails at the stoplights in the middle of the busy-ness that fills our lives and we even text message with parsed characters to save time. We’re harried, we feel we are falling behind and we are frustrated that life is getting even more complicated every day.
I miss Mayberry. The song by a country artist says it well. We miss the simpler life, simpler relationships, simpler communication and we don’t know how to go there. But maybe what we really miss is the significance in relationships, the significance of communication and most importantly the significance of life itself?
Relationships are an area where the counterfeit shines so brightly that people miss the real thing. I see people on Facebook that have 1500 “friends” and I know from my own experience that it’s impossible to have that many real friends. I can manage one or two real friends and that’s about it! Acquaintances… sure you can have 1500 of them, but let’s don’t pretend that they are real friends. Friends are people that you share your heart with, people that will remind you of the melody when your soul forgets the song. Friends are ones with whom you share intimacy (In-To-Me-See), people what you’ve allowed into your heart and who really know what makes you tick and they love you in spite of your idiosyncrasies, faults, quirks and mannerisms. They are people that can finish your sentences and who will be REAL with you as you are completely open and honest with them. Facebook can be a counterfeit to relationships. So can LinkedIn, My Space and dozens of other social networking platforms.
Belief in the counterfeit prevents people from looking deeper to find the real thing. Communication is a lost art. We’ve allowed all manner of counterfeits to take the place of true communication. Husbands and wives don’t take the time to sit and really discuss their hearts desires, their passions, their pains or their fears with one another because we’re too darn busy. We’re busy with the kids, busy with TV, busy working on the computer playing solitaire or surfing the web, busy with our own projects, so busy preparing for a tomorrow that we miss out on the present – the only real time we have to live. We text one another, we forward mindless emails; we offer sound bites to each other as we fly out the door, we’ve fully invested in the “fools gold” that shines so brightly but is totally worthless. People don’t realize that communication is an art, it takes attention, it takes focus, it happens in the NOW moment and it is an imperative to a fulfilling life. Communication happens when one person presents an intention, the intention is received and acknowledged by the other person and an expression is made to affirm that the intention was received as it was intended with the correct meaning. Then and only then has the intention made a full circle and an idea or thought has been truly communicated. Blasting bits of text into the air is NOT communication. Belief in the counterfeit prevents people from looking deeper to find the real thing. OK, so I have a real passion against the counterfeit communication that is so in vogue today.
I really desire to experience a significant life and not a counterfeit life, but there are so many things that are counterfeits to a truly significant life. What could be a counterfeit of a significant life you ask… well how about a spectacular life? The objective of a significant life may be training a young boy to be a good man whereas a spectacular life may mean becoming a rock star or a wealthy business person, a movie star or climbing the corporate ladder. Some people want to experience a deep relationship with God and settle for a regiment of church attendance or the spectacular experience of being the head of a church committee. Been there… done that.
In the movie with Billy Crystal and Jack Palance entitled “City Slickers”, Curley (Jack Palance) the crusty old cowboy leader tells the group of city boys that are off on a cattle drive to experience the old west, “you have to find the ONE THING“! His intention was to challenge the city boys to find the one thing that was most significant in their lives and to concentrate on that ONE THING as a way to alleviate all the other problems in their lives. Cowboy wisdom for sure.
What is the ONE THING for you? What one thing do you really want to be known for? What would you like to have written on your tombstone? What would you be most proud of accomplishing with this life you have? What’s your purpose? What is it you have to offer mankind? Why do you think God made you uniquely as you are? What passion and skill set can you utilize to be the most significant? What do you want to offer the world? Significant or spectacular, Truth or counterfeit? Are you looking for significance or do you need to see your name in lights? Are you seeking Truth or mindlessly settling for the counterfeit?
Spend a little time thinking about these things, and discuss them with your spouse or best friend – it can change your life. My choice is… I don’t want to live a counterfeit life!