Real or Fake?

Originally posted on Miss P’s Ponderings on July 17, 2012

     This morning, as I lay in bed contemplating getting up and heading into school, Jasper (my cat) began a very odd meow.  It wasn’t the “open the door” meow or the “feed me” meow or even the “I’m the center of the world” meow.  No, this one sounded like it came from his gut and was garbled in his throat. So, my immediate thought, “Please don’t let there be a mouse under my bed.”

     Now, for those of you who don’t know me, I wear contact lenses.  This means that if I’m still in bed then…I pretty much can’t see squat.  So, I rolled over to look at what he was focused on and saw a small blob in front of him.  “Yep,” I thought, “it has the shape of a mouse.  Ooh, what if he killed it and is bringing it up to me?  Gag!”  So, I reached for my glasses, and the shape was clearer, but due to it being 6am, it was still too dark to see.  With frustration, I reached for my reading lamp and….wait for it…it was a ….

     FAKE mouse!  Shwoo!  I don’t even remember when I bought the toy he was destroying.  (It was purple and has a feather tail, so I had to buy it, right?)  Anyway, he had found it recently, and in the early hours of the morning, he decided to kill it.  Let’s just say I was thrilled to find a FAKE killing taking place rather than a REAL dead mouse on my floor.  Gag!

     Of course, that started me thinking.  I know…I know…I really should quit, but it’s the way I’m wired.  So, I began thinking of all the fake and real things in my life.  Some are quite trivial while others are dear to my heart, so I thought I’d take you along as I reflect on the acceptable generics and the heartfelt genuine articles that came into my thoughts.

     Let’s see…why not go to the groceries?  I live in downtown Madison, and the JayC grocery store was replaced with Rulers.  Now, I’m not saying that Rulers is a fake grocery store for those of you who love it.  I’m simply saying…if you prefer name brand foods, you shouldn’t go there.  However, I’m not that shopper.  Kroger brand chips, lunch meat, milk, etc are fine with me.  They do have a few name brands, but overall you have to be okay with “store brand”, which I generally call “generic”.  From my experience, some cereal is better than others, but it fills my fridge without making me go uptown to the stores which cost you more money and eat up more of your time.  So, I “settle” for “fake” most times in the area of my groceries and we’re good.

     Yet, when it comes to cat-care, I opt for the “real thing”.  I’ve learned which litter absorbs the nasty scent and which food doesn’t cause stomach issues.  I mean, if the cat has stomach issues, I’m the one who has to deal with it. So, I give him REAL food and litter rather than the generic brands.

     Let’s see…what about flowers?  Now, as someone who’s allergic to many things outside, I prefer fake flowers in the house.  I mean, Jasper will eat and regurgitate any real plant that enters our home, so I tend to leave them outside.  I also do not have a green thumb.  I tend to kill real flowers.  For example, my friend Dr. Rubino, botanist extraordinaire, gave me a purple heart (plant) last summer at the Teacher Academy.  All last year, I attempted to help it grow.  I did put it in a bigger pot when it outgrew its first home.  I watered it.  But, alas, it looked sad most of the time.  A few times during the year, my students inquired if it was dead “yet”?  Um, no, not yet….it’s still holding on.  So, as the end of the year approached, I went to our principal, who does have a green thumb, and asked him to be the foster father for my purple heart over the summer to ensure it wouldn’t die alone in my room or be eaten by a cat at home.  A few weeks ago, Jason sent me a picture of a thriving and lovely purple heart.  Yep, a REAL plant owner knew what to do, but I must be a fake one…Anyway, I digress.

     I have some FAKE flowers I sit outside my room in the spring that our a lovely bright yellow and purple.  So, if the only purpose of a flower was to look pretty, then fake would be acceptable, even though real flowers tend to be much prettier.  However, since plants are one of our standards in science, my students can attest that the purpose of flowers is not to look pretty.  That’s just a perk.  Pollination, photosynthesis, and food chains all depend on flowers.  So, fake may be better for my allergies, but the real thing is mandatory for life to go on as needed.  I bet you didn’t know flowers were so important, did you?

     Hmmm…the next step on this ever exciting journey (read with thick sarcasm) is WORK.  Now, I’m guessing many of you reading this immediately think of “someone else” who pretends like they’re working while everyone else does the job.  Am I right?  This summer, I took my car to a fundraiser car wash.  Most of those involved were actively spraying, scrubbing, or drying, but there were also those on the fringe.  Close enough to look like they were working, but not a drop of water on their clothes.  Now, any of you who’ve helped with a car wash know that if you are working for REAL then you have water or soap on your clothes.  If you are FAKING the work, then you can dodge the sweat and simply wipe the car a few times without really putting forth a lot of effort. 

Same thing goes on in jobs…on committees…in any group where work is done.  You have those who put forth REAL effort and those who merely show up and FAKE their involvement.  Of course, right now, you might think my working in my classroom is a bit FAKE since I’m sitting here typing….but I figure I’ve been here two hours and each time I write a paragraph, I go back to the REAL work of my day. 

     Stay with me, just a couple more thoughts, then this post will finish.  The next fake/real part of life is friendship.  I hope my friends consider me a real friend, but I’m guessing some see me as fake.  What’s the difference?  I real friend knows you. I real friend spends time with you….or at least would like to.  I mean, I have some “real friends” from my past whom I don’t see, but I know if I happened to be in their town, we’d grab lunch and talk like no time had passed.  They know my heart with its joys and sorrows.  They know which days I’ll have headaches due to weather and where I need to sit in a restaurant.  They know what drink to order me and chuckle as I order with this, not that, and this on the side.  Now there are friends who aren’t fake and just aren’t as close as the ones I call real.  They may one day develop a real relationship with me, but generally speaking we both are okay with being surface friends…friends who speak, smile, and check on each other without invading each other’s thoughts or agenda.  However, is that what we’re supposed to do?  Are we supposed to be okay with merely sharing life’s journey or should we invest the time and effort needed to make a significant impact on each other’s lives?  John tells us we’re supposed to love each other as Jesus loved us.  I mean, He died for me, so I really don’t think that would be called surface friendship.  That’s the epitome of a REAL friend.

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15: 12-14

     As for “fake friends”, those are the ones who “act” like they care about you, but if you disappeared they wouldn’t realize you were gone.  I hope I’m not that type of friend to anyone.  If I am, I pray the Lord will change my heart and make me aware of a bridge that needs mended or a relationship that needs to start.  Do I have “fake friends”?  Hmm, not sure. 


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Finally, let’s talk faith.  Is yours real?  Are you the same Sunday in worship as you are Monday at work?  Are you the same at your parents’ dinner table as you are out with your buddies on Saturday night?  Do you live your faith daily?  hourly?  minute-by-minute?  Oh, I pray I do, but as with all of us it’s a journey.  It’s a daily decision to be REAL.  To be the woman of God He created me to be.  It’s not always the easiest choice.  However, it’s the choice that we need to make if we’re children of God.

     Are you?  If not, I’d like you to meet my Savior.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He loved you enough to lay down His life for you.  He is strong enough to conquer death, even death on the cross.  He is caring enough to return to Heaven, a Risen Savior, to prepare a place for you.  It’s real…no fake god in this gift of Salvation…just the REAL thing.  Jesus!  What a Savior!

For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4: 11, 12

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