We sat in the Thai food restaurant waiting for our server to bring the pad Thai. How pretty and lifelike that rose on our table looked but the colors were really just a little too perfect to be real.

We sampled (then ordered) the delicious iced Thai coffee, not nearly as sweet its Vietnamese cousin and a bit more delicate in flavor. And then the sweetest aroma wafted my way. It had a hint of floral—perhaps it was from the other iced drink we were sampling?

We caught up on what our kids were doing and how our week had gone in simple convo that keeps two friends connected. Then the fragrance came again . . . this time my brain identified its source. The fake rose was real. I had to touch its petals to verify this as if looking at a passport photo to establish true identity. It was real. Just hanging out in a vase filled with just enough water to sustain it through a couple more lunches and dinners. It was stunning!

The story here is a question. Are you being you? The real you in all your glory? Bringing all your natural shadings of color and contrast to the table? Sharing your fragrance much to the delight of those around you? Did anyone ever tell you, out of their own brokenness, that you should dial it back, color inside the lines instead of display the real masterpiece of you . . .

I’m smelling a heavy perfume, as I write this morning, coming from the two dozen rose bouquet that I received for my birthday and its gently reminding me of the not-fake-real rose at the restaurant. And that is the effect that living a true life has on others. A similar fragrance from another source will remind others of you and your kindness, brilliance, unique style, whatever it us that defines you. Your unique essence will be recalled by those whose lives you’ve touched even when you’re not present. Be real and fragrant. And that doesn’t have to mean delicate and fragile. Be the true you at the risk of accusations of being a little unreal. Be creative. Be smart. Be the genuine caring you and share it with everyone in your orbit.

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