Choir Notes

The Real Thing
From Music and The Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4104

At a recent magic show, the audience gasped in disbelief at the illusions the magician so skillfully presented. More than just pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he seemed to conjure up out of midair doves, flowers, and even people—and then make them disappear again. The audience could hardly believe their eyes. At the end of the show, one observer commented, “You know it’s not really happening, but it sure looks real.”

Things aren’t always what they seem—in magic shows and in people. True character is often disguised, as people are made to appear authentic even when they are not. Great amounts of time and money are spent in manufacturing a good reputation, even when there may not be a good character to match it.

With great insight, Abraham Lincoln said: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”1 Our lives are more peaceful and secure when we learn to pay less attention to the shadows and focus on “the real thing.”

Authenticity is essential in human relationships. Anyone can profess love, but it will never mean as much or be so sweet as sincere, heartfelt affection. Fair-weather friends are easy to find, but a genuine friend who can be counted on to remain true is a treasure worth searching for. No self-serving show of compassion will ever equal authentic goodness.

As the tree differs from the shadow, so does the authentic differ from the fake. There is no magic quite so wonderful as a genuinely good person. When you find someone who is authentic, someone who is true, you have found “the fairest gem that the riches of worlds can produce.”2

1 In Burton Stevenson, sel., The Home Book of Quotations (1934), 234.
2 “Oh Say, What Is Truth?” Hymns, no. 272.


Loquacious Leslie said...

You are that kind of friend Lyn....I am glad to count you as one of my favorite people!

shelly said...

This was beautiful -- thank you so much for sharing it!

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