|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Great thoughts from great Christians”
Our Bible verse for today: “Be kind and compassionate to one another …” Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Make it safe to drop the mask”
There’s an old poem I like very much which teaches a powerful truth. The name of the poem is “We Wear the Mask”. It was written by Paul Dunbar around 1900. Dunbar was the son of former slaves and he lived in a time when, although blacks were no longer slaves, there was still a lot of deep systemic racism in our society. It was simply a daily reality for blacks, and they had to find ways to live with it. In fact, for the most part, it wasn’t safe for them to publicly give voice to their true feelings about it because doing so would invite reprisals. Therefore, they wore emotional masks to conceal their real feelings.
Although the poem was originally and specifically about how black people in that day felt that it wasn’t safe for them to show their true feelings, I think it also describes the experience of all of us, to varying degrees. Even in church life, how often do we put on a happy face to disguise our true feelings because we feel it isn’t safe to be open and transparent with people? I encourage you to see yourself and those around you in this poem. We all wear masks.
We wear the mask that grins and lies, it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, –
This debt we pay to human guile; with torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise, in counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while we wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries to thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile, beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “There is always one thing more going on in every person’s life of which you know absolutely nothing.” That is very true, and usually it is true because people feel it’s not safe to drop the mask and to be real with those around them.
Today you will encounter many people wearing masks to conceal things in their lives which are tormenting them, but of which you know nothing. That being the case, be kind. And, see if perhaps you can help to create an environment where it is safe for them to drop the mask and talk about what’s really going on in their lives.
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