We hear a lot these days about virtual reality, reality TV, reality news, and reality adventures. The creators of these "realities" peddle their wares on an unsuspecting public that gobbles them up like a school of impoverished piranha. They promise something that approximates reality in such detail that actual participation in real life events is unnecessary. "Have the experience without the time and effort necessary to have the experience," is the Siren's Song. Face-to-face friendships? Who needs them! Just set up Facebook and Twitter accounts. A skiing adventure? No way! There's an X-Box game for that. And who in their right mind would ever try something new or venture out of their homes when shows like The Bachelor, Survivor, and American Idol come on during prime time and give you all the satisfaction needed!
You see, folks, we've traded real life for reality! It reminds me of a line from the Pink Floyd song "Wish You Were Here" that goes, "Did you exchange/a walk-on part in the war/for a lead role in a cage?" That is to say, have we exchanged the real-life, open-ended adventures of human existence--those experiences that fill our souls and offer excitement and the sense of accomplishment--for things that trap us in a lazy cycle of non-participation and leave us wanting for purpose and motivation? I say we have in so many ways!
I went hiking with my family on New Years Day. It was our first family outing in quite some time. As I watched my children bounding down the trail, laughing at one another's silly antics, and indulging my 5-year-old's fantasy of being an adventurer in search of some lost settlement, I couldn't help but feel convicted about my own fantasy life...my own version of virtual reality. I spend far too much time watching Netflix, trolling Facebook and YouTube, reading articles about other people's exploits, and recalling all of my past accomplishments. But what am I doing now to experience real life? I am an avid hiker who doesn't hike; an aviator who doesn't fly; an Army parachutist who doesn't jump out of planes; a fisherman who doesn't fish; a luthier who doesn't build guitars; an athlete who doesn't play a sport; and a runner who rarely runs. I've traded a walk-on part in real life for a lead role in a virtual cage!!! And this, my friends, is unacceptable!
Maybe you're in the same place. Are you feeling what I'm feeling? No doubt many of you are, if you're honest with yourselves. Come on, let's make the rest of 2019 different! Join me in exchanging reality for real life! Let's experience all that God has for us...his creation, his adventures, and his joys of experience. Let's choose the walk-on part in real life!