With Halloween upon us… I’ve been thinking about how kids love to dress-up. They are so excited to choose a costume for Halloween. A lot of thought and consideration is given to what they want “to be”. They not only put on their costumes but they get into character as well. They wear that role with pride in their steps as they parade around the neighborhood collecting compliments with each piece of candy.
For one night, the children get to be someone different… they get to play a role. They go to bed full of sweets and a sense of accomplishment.
I wonder if this is where the desire for adults to wear masks comes from. Do we learn from this childhood tradition that wearing masks is a way to become someone different? Different than we are. Different than what we have become. A disguise is easier to put on than the truth. A costume is simpler to assemble than reality. Do we hide behind these masks as if they are shields of protection? Guarded, shielded, hidden, disguised, and protected from revealing our true identity.
Wearing a mask was meant to be a child’s game. The danger of adults playing this game is that we keep the mask on for too long. Instead of just being temporary it becomes permanent. The mask wearing distorts our reality. After wearing the mask long enough… we begin to accept that mask as our reality. Ultimately, we become defined by the mask we wear. The line of where we begin and the mask ends…become unclear.
You may enjoy wearing the mask and believe that it serves a purpose in your world. You may even enjoy the image the mask portrays; however, the person you are hurting with the mask is yourself. That unclear boarder of the real you and the mask puts a wedge between you and others. Whether the relationship is between you and another person or you and God; it is a barrier preventing genuine relationships. This protective barrier may prevent some of the bad from penetrating you but it also prevents the good.
To have genuine relationships, to be true to yourself, to allow God into your heart, to accept your actual reality… you must hang up the mask. Be vulnerable! Be exposed! Reveal your hidden identity! As long as you keep wearing that mask you will remain one layer apart from others.
Children understand that Halloween is just one night. They wake-up the next morning and they are back to themselves… vulnerable, exposed, and their true identity revealed. They hang-up their mask. It is time for you to take off your mask too.