I’ve been having my quiet time out on our little apartment balcony each morning, especially enjoying it with these cooler mornings. It’s a beautiful apartment complex, surrounded by huge oak trees and nestled next to a local river. However, our apartment (the only one available to us on the date that we needed to move in) backs to the rear of a grocery store and its loading docks and dumpsters, just beyond the trees. You might be thinking, “wow, that’s less than ideal.”

And you’d be right.

The grocery store itself is a “high-end” take on an everyday task. They have a beautiful floral section, fabulous artisan bread bakery, extensive organic offerings, fine wines and a small cafe. The atmosphere makes a very mundane task seem almost like a treat!

But behind the scenes, it’s just like any other grocery store. I know this because every morning, along with scampering squirrels and lovely birdsong, I get the “beep-beep-beep” of the trucks backing into the loading docks, trash trucks upturning the big dumpsters with a “bang” and “clang”, and employees grabbing a quick smoke out of plain sight. My view through the tree branches gives me a window to what the shoppers inside never see.

It’s really not that different a scenario with us. We work hard on our outward appearance to draw people to us, trying our best to present a person who has it all together. But how often do we show those people what’s behind the scenes? Maybe we don’t really care to flaunt the smelly trash that tends to pile up or we would rather keep our not-so-great habits out of view. The fact of the matter is that, no matter how hard we try to look more appealing than the next guy, we’re really just like him.

When I shop at that store, I appreciate it a little more because I know what goes on behind the scenes. It’s real, and makes the whole experience a little more authentic. Sometimes I think that if we dare to be a little more open about what’s happening out of view in our own lives, others might just think the same thing about us.