Surfside Beach is where I was recently with my family. We all had a great time down there. One night, we went out to this big, all you can eat, seafood buffet. When we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed something on the sign. It read: "Live Mermaids Inside".
Well, I've never seen a mermaid. Have you? So that kind of got my attention. Yeah, I was mostly looking forward to the crab legs and shrimp on the buffet. That's what really excited me. But mermaids? I was curious to see what this was all about.
So we all went inside. This was a huge place. Lots of tables and chairs. A gigantic spread of food that was waiting to be devoured. And then I saw it off to my left side. A nicely decorated pool with a little fence around it. And in this pool, were two mermaids smiling, talking, and swimming around.
Ok, I'll go ahead and state the obvious. They weren't really mermaids. As far as I know, those don't actually exist. But what I saw were a couple of ladies dressed up as mermaids. It was well done. And their costumes were impressive, down to the smallest of details. They pulled it off really well. It was neat to see, and everyone seemed to be amused by the whole setting.
The ladies were just pretending.
But they're not the only ones.
People all around the world pretend to be someone or something they're not. I've done that before. Most likely you have too.
We can easily manufacture this image that is not like who we really are. Maybe we do it to impress others. Or maybe we do it because we're ashamed of our flaws and imperfections. Most likely it's for a combination of reasons.
But you know what life has taught me? I've noticed along the way that it's always best to be real. Be who you are. And never hide behind a mask.
It's a good thing when we are honest on the outside about who we are on the inside. It's good because it is all about reality. It's good because it means we're being genuine and sincere. It's good because it allows people to know who they're really dealing with when they're in our presence. And it's good because it means we're not playing games with God or other people.
There's no harm in a couple of ladies pretending to be mermaids at the buffet. That's just a gimmick. And it's for fun. But when it comes to daily living in the real world, there's nothing gained by you or me acting like someone we're not.
Let's be real. Honest with God and everyone else. Folks can far better handle us when we're real about who we are.
I'll never forget it. In a church service here in Sumter back in 1996, my uncle, Phillip Reynolds, came up to me and gave me some advice. And here's what it was: "Be real, David. Just be real."
He was right. And that still is true. It's alway best to be real.