Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to the Masquerade

I think I was in high school when I noticed the interesting phenomenon that I behaved differently depending on who I was around. I would act one way when I was with my family, another when I was with friends or fellow students, and another when I was in front of teachers. I've even noticed this with my own kids, who the teachers tell me are so wonderful and well behaved. I ask the teacher if they are talking about the right kid.

I think we are all like this. We put on different fronts, different masks and different facades depending on who we are dealing with. This is probably based mostly on nessessity. I know as a police officer I behave differently when I'm at work. If I'm having a bad day I still have to treat everyone fairly and justly and can't give a verbal lashing when I feel like it. I have to put on a smile and act amused whenever I walk in someplace and hear someone say, "I didn't do it" or "Watch out Bill---they're here for you!" I have to put on a serious face and be professional when horrible things have happened because others are looking for you to be that rock.

So, it's natural and necessary to wear these different masks depending on who we are around. We are even told to do this by Jesus in Matthew that when we fast not to look dismal but to wash our face so that our fasting cannot be seen by others. Often we fail at this and we act all pompous and serious and by doing so turn others off to our faith. Why should they follow us when we look like we just ate a lemon. Don't get me wrong, being a Christian can be very difficult and you do have to sacrifice. We are, after all, challenged to pick up out cross daily. Not exactly easy.

At some point though, we have to take the mask off and let others see us for who we are. It's been said that worshiping God is like a cross--we praise God, going up in a vertical manner, but that part of worshiping him is reaching out to our fellow man and helping them--in a horizontal manner. But true love is giving and receiving. We worship God and we have to open ourselves up and allow Him to fill us with His grace. So we may not let others see that we are fasting, but God knows and will give us grace to not only help us through the fast but to help us grow from it.

Likewise, we are put here not only to help others, but to allow them to help us and that can be where the challenge is, especially when we allow pride to come in. Especially when we are trying to put on a brave persona and make everyone happy. There is some point where we have to open ourselves up and let others see us for who we are. We have to let people know we are hurting, that we are scared, or that we don't know what to do. Allowing others to help you not only assists you but helps them feel better. I know that as a friend, one of my biggest pleasures is helping my friends. I enjoy being there for them and allowing them to vent.

Be aware of your surroundings. Yes, you have to behave differently depending on where you are. The fart joke you tell to your uncle may not go over well at the ladies auxiliary. But know that God knows you for who you are so open up and stop trying to hide from him. And be confidant that you can open up to your friends and family and allow them to assist you through difficult times.


  1. This is great, I now that offering it up to God when you are not having a good day works. I do ware a mask when needed and know that my family is not going to get the residue of the day. That is what is hard. Coming home with a smile and smiling as you tell your day, even if hard.

  2. "put on a brave persona and make everyone happy" - sometimes this feels like the story of my life. I'm so much the peacemaker that I'm quite sure most of my family doesn't 'know' me at all.