(This is not a Covid post…!)
This is not another blog about Covid…shudder! I must make that clear at the outset, before you hit the delete key.
No, this is about a more subtle kind of mask, the kind that cannot be seen with the naked eye, but only with the eyes of the soul.
Masks are comfortable. We all have them…even you. I can, at any moment, with lightning speed, change my mask up or down as the occasion demands.
- For a book signing, I can be the extrovert I’m not.
- For church, I can put on the mask with the spiritual smile plastered on, hiding whatever pain or uncertainty crowds my thoughts that day.
- For my family, I can be the wise matriarch who always knows the best course of action in any circumstance. (I see my children and grandchildren rolling their eyes.)
You have your own. Your masks are unique to your life experiences, your temperament, your dreams–even the dreams you hide from others because they’ll never become reality anyway.
The older I get, the more my masks slip from time to time, revealing the frightening, unfamiliar me underneath. Sometimes it’s a shocker, both to me and the unfortunate person from whom I’m hiding.
You’ve been there. The moment that takes you unaware, when you’re confronted with you, and the person you’re with also gets a glimpse. You reach up and tug the mask back into place…hoping against hope that your friend didn’t get too good a look.
There are any number of mask peddlers out there, willing to sell you a new one for a price. The price? Ahh yes, the price.
The price is intimacy. With family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. After all, we can’t possibly let them see the real us! The messy us, the one we see in the mirror every day, the us behind our eyelids.
The problem, of course, is what Jesus called hypocrisy–a talent the Pharisees of His day had honed to a sharp point. But we aren’t as bad as that bunch…right? Right?
Here’s a radical thought. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we collected our masks and had a bonfire? We could bring hot dogs and marshmallows and revel in getting to know each other…the way God intended us to know each other. The way He knows us. We could talk, really talk. And listen, really listen.
And maybe we’d find that under our masks we’re still His beloved children, made in His image. We’d see that the masks we hide behind are just cheap imitations of the faces and souls He gave us–and that those flimsy masks can never cover the pure gold He’s already spun into us.
I’ll bring the firewood.