There is a paper coating over most things in life. In business we call it perception. We actively work at shaping it. We aspire that others see us as we hope to be. We know that when one tears the covers, discovering the truth, that it will be a realization of our dreams. Countries and individuals use this technique, again hopeful that aspirations are seen as reality.
It is interesting to think back on the wrapping I have used on presents over the years. From fancy seasonal wrappings and expensive foils to yesterday’s newspapers, there was always a story I hoped would be heard before the gift was opened. Most of the time, the wrapping went unnoticed. I cannot recall being frustrated or annoyed. I do recall being oddly confident that the quiet message had been seen and heard from the heart. In hindsight, I have no idea if this was true.
I know as I unwrap the paper that coats countries, companies, and individuals that I am often disappointed. I hope for the best, only to find the normal and mundane. There are a precious few that are openly acting to improve the link between reality and perception. I admire their ability to reinforce the wrapping while acknowledging and working on the gaps within. It is a model that I find useful, knowing that many rarely stop to admire the wrapping on gifts in their lives.
I find it helpful to remember that wrappings are not the answer. A best, they reflect our mythologies. The warning still applies; “I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives [wrapping] don’t in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very “nature” is to die, so how could they “naturally” end up in the Life kingdom?” (1 Corinthians 15.50)
Remember, what is inside matters. No matter what wrapping one chooses to use, what is inside will reveal the truth.
The present is an opportunity to work on the inside. As pretty as paper can be, the heart is the real story.