The purpose of a mask is to cover up the pain that hides behind it.

I have a friend who wears this:

I used to wear one, too. It fit nicely and covered my imperfections and blemishes just fine. It was so very uncomfortable, though, and when life got hot, it got very sweaty. I would have to go into my own bedroom or bathroom and shut the door to the rest of the world before I could take it off and breathe me again.

Mine had a plastic grin and a permanent label.

My friend? Hers does too.  She wears the more expensive one-size-fits-all trouble-free shallow perfection model.

She posts the pretty pictures on social media. She sings the praises of her husband and children. She shares the causes worth fighting for that she spends her spare time working on. She crafts and vacations and cooks and saves money while spending on the most fashionable of all fashions. She talks the love of Jesus and the grace abundant.

But all the while, she is sweating underneath. And behind the closed door, the ugly is revealed, and the only one who sees it all is the One and Only, her Creator and Lover of her soul.

I loved playing house as a child. I even enjoyed playing house as a grown-up. I loved pretending to be what I really wasn’t, just as I have always loved watching movies and reading books that transport my mind into another world for an escape from my reality. Over time, I slowly morphed from that childish world of playing house and pretending into the adult world of pretending to be someone else. That adult world where hiding the imperfection and blemish is the norm.

Very few knew of my sadness. Very few knew of my distress.

I am grateful that I am learning that I am enough.

I am grateful that I am learning to live real.

I am grateful that I am learning to be honest.

I am grateful that I am learning that I am not alone.

I am grateful that my world is no longer pretend.

I am grateful that in the background, I recognize that mask and can offer understanding and support while my friend wears it and continues to work on the struggle to be authentic.

I am grateful that I can support and understand by saying, “Me too.”

And I am grateful that the Lover of my soul never gave up on me and provided those very few who knew the sadness and distress and stood beside me until I was able to unmask.

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