The Masks We Wear
It occurred to me yesterday afternoon, as I was sitting in the mid-section of the gymnasium bleachers at my sons’ Elementary school, anticipating their annual Halloween parade, how much masks affect our daily lives.
I am not talking about the masks we are forced to wear in modern days. I am talking about the elusive everyday masks we put on to hide our true personas from the world.
My youngest son, a third grader, wanted to dress up as Bigfoot for Halloween this year. His costume is adorable. It is also expensive, oppressive, hot, uncomfortable, confining, and while he was excited to be Bigfoot, once he actually wore the costume for more than five minutes, he could not wait to rip the mask off, exposing his face to the freedom of fresh air and allowing the limitation of his sight to no longer be hindered.
My oldest son, a fifth grader, together with one of his buddies, decided to be the white-faced, creepy looking, Scream character. Yes, the one that murders everyone else. How proud am I that my son wants to dress up as a serial killer for Halloween?! His mask, while not as adorable as his brother’s, also contributed to my older son feeling claustrophobic, hot, anxious, and overwhelmingly hindered in sight.
As I surveyed the crowd of moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and other family members around me, I noticed the majority were wearing masks. Most likely because it is required in my sons’ school, especially at large events. Myself, I was feeling hot, uncomfortable, and a bit suffocated as well.
How different was this day from any other? Just because our children (and sometimes we as parents) dress up one day a year for a holiday that gives us permission to be anyone or anything other than what we really are, is it only this one day that we wear masks, hiding our true identities? I know in my case it is not.
I wear a mask every day.
Again, not the cloth mask required of my job, nor the mask of makeup I refuse to leave the house without.
I am talking about the invisible mask I put on every morning before facing the world. The I’m fine, everything is fine, my life feels like it is falling apart, I am anxious, worried, stressed, but I don’t want to deal with it, so I will just pretend it does not exist mask.
Do you know that mask? Have you ever worn it? Perhaps the better question would be, do you ever remove that mask so the world at large, or perhaps just your inner circle, can see the true you?
“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lampstand, so that those who come in may see the light. “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”luke 8:16-17
While we may not want our friends, co-workers, families, or even those closest to us, our children, spouses, mothers, and fathers, to know the despair we often feel, or the many worries taking up residence in our mind, how refreshing is it to know that we do not have to hide from our Heavenly Father.
He knows what is on our hearts, minds, souls, and the weight with which we daily struggle.
Rather than a thoughtless response, such as, “I’m fine,”when asked how I am doing every morning on the elevator ascending to my fourth-floor office, God knows the deep intimate struggles I choose not to share with the world.
He knows and He cares.
He wants me to come to Him for healing, refreshment, a much-needed cleansing of my soul and vessel of water for my parched lips. I do not have to wear a mask with my Lord. Even if I do, He clearly sees beyond the mask. He sees straight to the heart of all matters concerning His children.
Freedom in His prescience is the most illuminating gift on earth. The ability to speak to a savior just like you would a trusted friend. A redeemer that keeps secrets, offers wise counsel, desires to combat the worrisome and weary woes that bog us down and inhibit the passionate light Jesus so deeply wants us to share with the world.
If, like me, you don that daily mask without a second thought, perhaps now is the time to shed the inhibiting masquerade, pour your soul out to a trusted friend that wants nothing more than to see the true, authentic, fully exposed face you hide from the world.