Years ago my wife and I decided that we needed a new couch. My father-in-law knew a man who owned a furniture store who would give us a discount so we paid him a visit. We looked at his showroom couches but we didn't like any of them.
"Well," he said, I could let you pick out the frame, and the fabric (color and design), and we could order it special made from the factory. I could sell it to you at cost plus shipping." We liked the idea, so we picked out the frame and the fabric and put in our order. We even ordered a chair in the same fabric.
A few weeks later our new couch and chair arrived. And we loved them. As we placed the couch against the wall and the chair beside the couch, we felt we had something unique, something special belonging only to us.
What were the chances that somebody else had chosen that exact frame from all of the frames we had looked at, and that exact fabric from all of the available fabrics? No, this was a couch and chair that belonged only to us.
And they were comfortable and the couch lent itself well to Sunday afternoon naps.
We were proud.
Shortly after the arrival of our furniture, my wife's uncle died and we traveled to his funeral in the nearby town of Lexington, NC. As we walked into the funeral home during the visitation the first thing we saw was an exact copy of our couch and chair sitting in the lobby. They were the same as ours down to the last detail.
We sat on them and they were comfortable. And we were no longer proud.
After all, we had chosen the same furniture for our home as a funeral home had chosen for their lobby. We had the same taste in furniture as a funeral home interior decorator.
At home, after the funeral, our couch and chair did not look quite the same. They were still comfortable and I still occasionally took a nap on the couch.
But every time I closed my eyes, I could hear a voice in my head say, "Look at him. Doesn't he look natural?"