Over the last month, my wife and I were immersed in the conclusion of a two year adventure to bring home our infant adoptive daughter Layla to be with her forever family.
This final leg of the journey involved us spending a third of a month away from our older 3 children over 2 different trips to the United States.
We had lots of time to think, pray, learn, observe and grow together and separately.
One of the things that struck me the most about our southern neighbour's culture and community was the over-arching desire to seemingly have to keep up appearances. We saw people invest tremendous amounts of effort to mask their pain, their questions, their confusion and their ineptitude in a variety of different ways. We met others who were attempting to live counter culturally to this seemingly natural American expression, which reminded us of something we were pursuing in our own family.
About 8 years ago my wife Bonny and I sat down and crafted together some values that we wanted to be the guideposts for our family in the present and the future. One of these values is authenticity.
"If it's not real, it's not worth it" - one of our favourite phrases
As we've stitched this notion and practice into the fibre of our family, we've found a tremendous sense of freedom from the desire to keep up appearances. We have more energy, more capacity and more opportunity to invest ourselves in things that actually matter.
What we've discovered in this journey is that friendships have been more difficult to find and nurture than we thought.
You see, the challenge with authenticity is that you need to face your own pain, your own short comings and your own pride. You need to admit to yourself and to others that you are not only imperfect, but you are in need of the aide others can offer you in order to continue to grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically.
And that is the challenge.
Admitting that we need something other than our own ability to create a stable present or future.
But I wonder how different life would be if we each of us found the courage to remove our masks and get real with life and with each other?
I don't have time to waste trying to be something or someone that I'm not. So I don't bother with it anymore. I am who I am...the Creator who made me knew what He was doing when He authored my life to come to be.
How about you? Are you aiming to be real, or to be something completely different?