mask and book
original image at


Before you read this week’s post, I hope you will take a few minutes and listen to the song I’ve embedded below. It will help you understand what I’m writing about.

If you really feel you don’t have those minutes, you can scan over the lyrics:

I’ve listened to this song for at least a year or two — it’s actually on my “fun run” playlist. I miss the fun run days when I just went out to run and think and get away for a while. I’ll get back to those after my race.

Anyway, every time I hear this song, the more it means to me. I am slowly coming to accept that I live life on a different “level” that most of the people around me. While I miss the mark from time to time, most the time I’m pretty dead on when I see distance in people’s eyes and faces. What hurts me most is to see it in the eyes and faces of the people I attend church with.

I totally get the idea of putting up walls and putting on my “public face.” I do it all the time. I do it when I just don’t want people to pry. I do it when I’m in one of my moods when I believe no one really cares, or that everyone is tired of hearing me whine about life. I do it when I don’t want to admit that what I’m feeling on the inside isn’t what I think I should be feeling. I do it when I don’t trust someone I’m with. I do it because I believe that’s what is expected of me. (Sometimes, it is. Imagine a teacher coming into work and airing all her dirty laundry — masks do have their times and their places.) I do it when I feel like someone is already so burdened that they don’t need to try to share mine. I do it when I’m tired of wallowing in self-pity and just want to see the good in my life. I do it when I want to push people away.

Sadly, I think pushing people away is the end result of a lot of the “public face” movement I seem to see.

Unfortunately, nothing will change unless we are willing to change two ways at once.

  1. We have to find the strength within ourselves to be vulnerable and take risks. We have to accept that sometimes, things will backfire and our trust will be betrayed. We have to believe that we are acceptable as we are, and be able to expect that the people closest to us will be able to accept our “real deal.” We have to be willing to share who we are on the inside.
  2. We have to learn to love others, with all their faults and imperfections, freely without judging. We have to be patient and allow the people around us the freedom to grow at their own pace. We have to be able to care and support without enabling crippling emotional habits. We have to be strong enough within ourselves to not feel threatened when someone attempts to close the emotional gap. We have to be willing to hold ourselves to high standards of love and goodwill, even if we feel like we are being drained without anyone returning the favor.

Would the world be better if we dropped our masks? Maybe. It can only truly happen if we are willing to be our best selves with the people around us. It can only happen if we are committed to the ideal. It can only happen if we want it to. Even if we never get there, the world would be a little better for each time we show a little more kindness, a little more gentleness, a little more patience, and a little more love.