Years ago I was on vacation at an island country that has a magnificent port, beautiful beaches, and sparkling resort areas. The areas were well-kept and the local people were very friendly. Because of these things, the country is visited by thousands of Americans every year. To visitors, this country appears to be a tropical paradise. However, local citizens provide tours of other parts of the country not seen by tourists. If you take one of these inland tours you will notice that the scenery starts to change as soon as you leave the resort area. The neighborhoods are not as clean and the people are not as friendly. What happened to our tropical paradise?
This is an example of what happens when we think that outward appearance is everything. We become enamored with what we see. When we look a little closer we realize that what we see is not always the entire picture. We can be easily deceived by what we see. We can also be deceived by what we do not see. In other words, people tend to see tangible things first. Meanwhile the intangible things that go unnoticed probably present a more accurate picture of reality.
For example, how many times do we fall head over heels with someone of the opposite sex based solely on how they look? Tangible beauty is easy to see and hard to resist! Later on, as we get to know the other person, their intangible qualities are revealed and we realize that this person may not be the one for us. Sometimes even when our intuition kicks in and allows us to see this, we continue to go with the flow and stay in hot pursuit. Later on we realize that we found the temporary beauty of glitter instead of the permanence of solid gold.
Ask any treasure hunter: finding gold is a painstaking process that requires a lot of patience. It requires learning to spot the difference between the colored rocks called “fool’s gold” and the real, solid gold. How can we unearth the intangibles and find gold? The answer is simple: dig deep and inspect every rock carefully. As it relates to people and circumstances, we should ask one question, ask a second question, and then ask more questions! The answers to these questions will reveal whether or not the glitter we see will lead to the gold we seek.
It is alright to appreciate the glitter, but imperative to look deeper and inspect carefully to find the gold.
Remember, all that glitters is not gold!