Friday, March 14, 2008
Sincerely Yours
I could have turned off the light, made up for some of that missed sleep. Instead I stayed up and reread "Gift from the Sea". I've neglected this book, let it sit on the shelf next to shells as part of my decor, rather than wearing it out with re-rereading. Anne Morrow Lindberg spent days at the ocean, thinking deep thoughts, then wrote of the clarity that came; how wonderful it is, how rich in wisdom.

Speaking on relationships, she said, "The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask."

Oh Anne, I envy you.

Thinking back to company dinners, with the worry of 'am I wearing the right thing?', or having friends over for dinner, going out to dinner, or that most intimidating, meeting at someone's country club, the angst I've felt. Worried about presenting myself a certain way, rather than just relaxing and being me. Holding up a mask for hours, days, years on end, is exhausting. Mask-wearing usually sent me home tired rather than refreshed.

Casual coffee with girlfriends, or sewing across a table from each other, or worshiping next to someone in church, driving in my car with the windows down on a spring day and the music on the radio is just too good to not join in! Oh but someone may see me, hear me. What will they think? What a burden to take it on, but I do. I wonder, do others? Do most?

Those company dinners - what if I'd just been myself, better yet, what if I'd been really radical, focused on everyone else and not me at all? Wouldn't that have been freeing, energizing?

What if, at all those get-togethers, we sat with real masks on. Masks that cover our eyes, cover up what we're really thinking, feeling, wanting, needing. We'd think it ridiculous to sit around, looking at each other through masks. What if everyone but me wore a mask? How frustrating to try to relate, connect!

And what about all those times God puts me with other humans he values just as much as me, and wonder of wonders He gave them personalities that aren't exactly like mine, then he accessorized them with different opinions? What if I throw caution to the wind, grab hold of the freedom to just be me, let them be who they are, in other words - get over myself, and enjoy the smorgasborg in life He's offering me?

Masks - great for Mardi Gras, or maybe Halloween. Not so much for rubbing elbows with others. How he must shake His head at me, when He sees me worn out from the burden of holding up a mask, of living insincerely.

Like Anne, I don't want to be the one in the room with the mask on. I want my face, my real face to show - every little line around my eyes or mouth, the wrinkles on my forehead that hopefully are more the result of gut-laughing than fretting. I want them to see the bit of padding from too many servings of fettuccine alfredo and cheesecake rather than cottage cheese, and the freckles from too much time in the sun; the circles under my eyes from late nights up with a baby, or waiting for a teenager, or long talks with my lifemate. I want it all to show, and I want to see it in others God puts in my path.

Living sincerely, with no masks - how novel, how refreshing, how freeing!


  posted at 8:13 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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